Originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, Dr. Elliot Engel now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he has taught at the University of North Carolina, North Carolina State University, and Duke University. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at UCLA. While at UCLA he won that university’s Outstanding Teacher Award.
Dr. Engel has written ten books published in England, Japan, Turkey, and the United States. His mini-lecture series on Charles Dickens ran on PBS television stations around the country. His articles have appeared in numerous newspapers and national magazines including Newsweek. He has lectured throughout the United States and on all the continents including Antarctica. Four plays which he has written have been produced during the last ten years. In 2009, he was inducted into the Royal Society of Arts in England for his academic work and service in promoting Charles Dickens.
For his scholarship and teaching, Dr. Engel has received North Carolina’s Adult Education Award, North Carolina State’s Alumni Professorship, and the Victorian Society’s Award of Merit. Most recently, he was named Tar Heel of the Week for his thirty years of delivering public programs in the humanities and sponsoring state and national literary contests for high school students.
Since 1980, Dr. Engel has been President of the Dickens Fellowship of North Carolina, the largest branch of this worldwide network of clubs. The sales of Dr. Engel’s books, CDs, and DVDs have raised funds for The Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital which Dickens helped found in London in 1852.
Professor Engel continues to teach outside the classroom and give literary and historical programs throughout the world. He also presents assemblies at elementary, middle, and high schools, and his educational CDs & DVDs are used in classrooms around the country. In his spare time, he likes to imagine all the impressive hobbies and leisure pursuits he could mention here --- if he ever actually would find enough spare time to indulge in them.
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Publicity Blurbs for Professor Engel's Most Popular Programs:
(if you don't see the blurb you need below, Elliot will be happy to write one for you. Contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org)
1. The Dickens Nobody Knows
As great as his literary reputation remains today, Charles Dickens suffers from such an incomplete portrait in the minds of his readers. Professor Engel rescues him by enthusiastically tracing his astonishing life and writing career. Using biography, analysis, and large doses of humor, Dr. Engel reveals an author far more fascinating than the immortal characters he created in his novels.
2. The Inimitable Winston Churchill
Dr. Engel has dug deeply into numerous biographies to discover delightful yet virtually unknown stories about Winston Churchill. They reveal an incredibly inspiring public and private figure. Using anecdotes, analysis, and large doses of humor, Professor Engel vividly brings to life this twentieth-century giant.
3. Scarlett Fever: The Greatness of Gone With The Wind
Dr. Engel reveals the astounding background of Margaret Mitchell's great book and how it actually reflects the story of her life. No matter how familiar you might be with the novel and the movie, Professor Engel will fascinate you with so much new and exciting information about this most popular novel and its remarkable yet most peculiar author.
4. The Brilliance of Jane Austen
Professor Engel emphasizes that Jane Austen is the first great woman author in our language. He also singles out and explores the multiple perfections within her novels which have made her one of the most enduring and endearing British writers of all time.
5. Myth Emily Dickinson
As the title implies, Emily Dickinson has been ill-served by many biographers in having so many dubious stories associated with her peculiar life. Dr. Engel separates the facts from the fictions concerning her eccentricities and, more importantly, he dramatically reads aloud and carefully explicates some of her most beautiful poems.
6. A Dickens of a Christmas
With the publication of A CHRISTMAS CAROL in 1843, Charles Dickens changed the way we now celebrate Christmas. Using anecdotes, analysis, and large doses of humor, Dr. Elliot Engel will provide fascinating background on this most beloved holiday tale and its brilliant author.
7. A Light History of the English Language
Dr. Engel traces the fascinating development of our English language from the Celts to the Anglo-Saxons to the invading French,. Chaucer is given his proper place as the earliest named literary genius. Using anecdotes, analysis, and large doses of humor, Professor Engel brings to life this most personal of topics which has always been as near as the tip of our tongues.
8. The Vanderbilts: All Of Them!
Dr.Engel traces the amazing tale of this famous American dynasty from Cornelius, born in the eighteenth century, to Gloria of the designer jeans. Their triumphs and tragedies are placed in the context of family dynamics and historical influences. Using anecdotes, analysis, and large doses of humor, Professor Engel brings to life this most remarkable of fabulously wealthy families.
9. The Overbearing Genius of Frank Lloyd Wright
Widely recognized as America's greatest architect, Wright's personal life was known as anything but great. Yet the chaotic and often unwise relationships he had with women demonstrates the same original and non-conformist passions that shaped his brilliant professional career. Using anecdotes, analysis, and large doses of humor, Professor Engel vividly brings to life this twentieth-century giant.
10. The Curious Case of James Michener
Though his books sold tremendously, Michener has never had the respect of critics or English professors. Dr. Engel traces the very peculiar early life of this foundling child and demonstrates how his lack of familial background led to his particular virtues and shortcomings as an author.
11. The Wizardry of Oz: L. Frank Baum and His Classic American Fairy Tale
Dr. Engel reveals the life of L. Frank Baum and the reasons for the enduring and endearing fame of his WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ. Using anecdotes, analysis, and large doses of humor, Professor Engel brings to life this most fascinating of fairy-tale writers.
12. The History and Mystery of Wine
Dr. Engel traces the fascinating ancient origins of wine and continues the story through the wide and wild popularity of wine today. Using anecdotes, analysis, and large doses of humor, Professor Engel brings to life the intoxicating journey of wine from the Ancient Egyptians through the invention of Champagne, and even explores America's small but growing influence on recent wine culture.
13. Shakespeare 400 Years Later: More Alive Than Ever
On this 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death in 1616, Dr. Engel will take his audience to a performance of a Shakespeare play while Shakespeare was living to demonstrate what it was actually like to attend a performance during the exciting Renaissance period in England. Using anecdotes, analysis, and large doses of humor, Professor Engel reveals how William became Shakespeare.
14. The History and Mystery of Money
Dr. Engel traces the fascinating journey of money -- from where and why it was first invented, to how it developed, to what its future might be. Using anecdotes, analysis, and large doses of humor, Professor Engel brings to life this most universal of topics.
15. The Importance of Being Earnest Hemingway
Hemingway is that rare author whose personality was at least as famous as the books he wrote. Dr. Engel thoroughly explores and analyzes his troubled early life, his amazingly successful writing career, and his tragic final years. What emerges is a fascinating portrait of this twentieth-century literary giant.
16. Beyond The Muddy Cloak: The Brilliance Of Sir Walter Raleigh
Dr. Engel reveals the fascinating life of this author-explorer-courtier who deserves to be celebrated for far more than his muddy cape. Sadly, he's been forgotten today as one of the great writers of love poetry and as a brilliant entrepreneur. But Professor Engel certainly hasn't forgotten, and, using anecdotes, analysis, and large doses of humor, he will make this remarkable historical figure live once again.
17. The Tortured Genius of Edgar Allan Poe
Poe has always been regarded as America's most macabre author--and for good reason. His life was far more bizarre and tragic than any of his fiction or poetry. Using anecdotes, analysis, and large doses of humor, Dr. Engel reveals both the brilliant creativity and the abnormal eccentricities of this most fascinating of writers.
18. Queen Victoria and the Victorian Novel
Not only did she reign during the only period when England was the most powerful nation on earth, but the novels published during Queen Victoria’s rule were some of the most beautiful fiction ever written. Dr. Engel first reveals the fascinating, highly unlikely circumstances which brought this 18-year-old princess to the throne, and then he illuminates the glory of the novels which blossomed forth throughout her 64-year reign.
19. Leonardo Da Vinci: Before The Code
Many scholars consider Leonardo Da Vinci to be the greatest artistic genius in the history of Western Civilization. Dr. Engel probes the breadth and depth of Leonardo’s extraordinary mind while revealing the fascinating causes for his many unfinished masterpieces. He even tackles the universal mystery of Mona Lisa’s smile.
20. Master of Mayberry: The Miraculous Life of Andy Griffith
While it is true that he was a brilliant movie and Broadway stage actor, Andy Griffith is a Hollywood immortal because of THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW television show which ran from 1960 to 1968. Professor Engel not only analyzes Andy’s astonishing early life which led to his television triumph, but he also reveals little-known fascinating facts about the show’s production and its enduring and endearing fame.
21. Blackbeard! Pirate Enemy Number One