Faculty Spotlight: Lisabeth Buchelt
Dr. Lisabeth Buchelt is a professor of English and Irish Literature, as well as Medieval and Renaissance Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. She is currently working on a book project that has been many years in the making, looking at the intellectual communities and reading practices of Medieval Irish Monastic institutions. This project grew out of an idea that was the basis of her dissertation. Dr. Buchelt has offered pieces of this book as articles and at conferences to begin presenting the idea that secular and religious texts of this time period should be studied side-by-side. Traditionally, the religious writings and the sagas, or epic stories, are separated and studied as if they do not exist simultaneously. Dr. Buchelt uses a monastic reading practice in which one brings the knowledge of all the previous texts (both secular and religious) one has read when reading a new text to see how old reading experiences can influence new reading experiences. Her project brings together these two seemingly disparate types of texts to show how they work together and the apparent cultural divide between the two is not as vast as it initially seems.
Dr. Buchelt is also pondering another project that was inspired by a class she taught in the Spring of 2020, entitled “King Arthur Through the Ages.” The end of this class brought an assignment to watch the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, a film created by an educated group of comedians who specialize in Medieval and Arthurian history. Dr. Buchelt would like to make a more in-depth study of this film, looking at the threads they use and how they take each small reference to medieval Arthurian texts and humorously twist it to fit into the film. This project could be a lone study or perhaps part of a bigger project containing not only this particular film, but other modern iterations of medieval texts and how they speak to contemporary issues from an educated perspective using medieval themes.
Looking back, Dr. Buchelt is grateful for her teaching career at UNO. She gets more input and ideas from talking with students, rather than working mostly in isolation, a common habit of studious academics. Her annotation of Bram Stoker’s novel, The Snake’s Pass, was, as she puts it, a “direct output” of discussions with students from the first time she taught the “Bram Stoker: Beyond Dracula” class. She claims, “I don’t think I would be nearly as productive, research wise, if I weren’t teaching.”