Nancy Derbyshire is an assistant professor at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, CUNY, where she teaches composition, British literature, and literature of survival. She is the author of several essays, including “The License of Listening” (John Clare Society Journal 37, 2018), “The Purposive Emptiness of Elizabeth Bentley” (Women’s Writing 27.2, 2020), “The Fire of Labouring Genius in John Clare’s ‘Dawnings of Genius’” (The Explicator 77.2, April-June 2019), and “The Labouring-Class Bird” (Birds in Eighteenth-Century Literature: Reason, Emotion, and Ornithology, 1700-1840, Palgrave Macmillan, 2020).
John Clare, British Romanticism
PhD English, CUNY Graduate Center, 2013
MA English, William Paterson University, 2005
BA English & Philosophy, Boston University, 2000
- This is an upper-level intensive developmental writing course for students scoring between 43 and 55 on the CATW. Students are instructed in basic components of effective writing, including word selection, punctuation, spelling, grammar, sentence structure and paragraph development. Students are given frequent in-class writing exercises that focus on argumentation, narrative, and description as modes of developing ideas. Individual conferences with instructors are frequent.
- Students placed in ENG 100.5 are offered extra support, afforded through additional instructional time. Students completing ENG 100.5 will have mastered the fundamentals of college-level reading and writing, including developing a thesis-driven response to the writing of others and following the basic conventions of citation and
documentation. They will have practiced what Mike Rose calls the a??habits of minda?? necessary for success in college and in the larger world: summarizing, classifying, comparing, contrasting, and analyzing. Students will be introduced to basic research methods and MLA documentation and complete a research project. Students are required to take a departmental final exam that requires the
composition of a 500 word thesis-driven essay in
conversation with two texts. Successful completion of this course is equivalent to passing ENG 101.
Prerequisite: Students who scored between 48-55 on the CAT-W and 70 or higher on the CAT-R can take this course
- English Composition is the standard freshman writing course. The course introduces students to academic writing. By its conclusion, students will be ready for English 201 and for the writing they will be asked to do in advanced courses across the curriculum. Students completing ENG 101 will have mastered the fundamentals of college-level reading and writing, including developing a thesis-driven response to the writing of others and following the basic conventions of citation and documentation. They will have practiced what Mike Rose calls the "habits of mind" necessary for success in college and in the larger world: summarizing, classifying, comparing, contrasting, and analyzing. Students will be introduced to basic research methods and MLA documentation and complete a research project. Students are required to take a departmental final exam that requires the composition of a 500 word, thesis-driven essay in conversation with two designated texts.
Prerequisite: Pass the CAT-R and CAT-W or Accuplacer tests
- This is a course that builds upon skills introduced in English 101. In this course, literature is the field for the development of critical reading, critical thinking, independent research, and writing skills. Students are introduced to literary criticisms and acquire basic knowledge necessary for the analysis of texts (including literary terms and some literary theory); they gain proficiency in library and internet research; and they hone their skills as readers and writers. Assignments move from close readings of literary texts in a variety of genres to analyses that introduce literary terms and broader contexts, culminating in an independent, documented, thesis-driven research paper. By the conclusion of English 201, students will be prepared for the analytical and research-based writing required in upper-level courses across the curriculum; they will also be prepared for advanced courses in literature.
Prerequisite: ENG 101
- This course will focus on a specific theme, concept, cultural milieu, or major author to be announced in advance. Topics for the following semester will be made available by the English Department during registration. Each section of the course will cover in-depth a single special topic, such as one of the following: the Harlem Renaissance, Literature and the Environment, Utopian and Dystopian Literature, Literature and Medicine, The Beat Generation, Literature of the Working Class, Satire in the 18th Century, Censorship and Literature, Literature of Immigration, War in Literature, Madness and Inspiration in Literature, Gay and Lesbian Literature, and Women in Shakespeare. Prerequisites: ENG 101 and 201, or ENG 121
- This course surveys works of English literature from its origins in pre-Norman England to the eighteenth century. The objectives are three-fold: (1) to develop the student's appreciation for literature and an acquaintance with literary masterpieces written in English during the years of this survey; (2) to introduce the student to the major political and cultural events and ideals that shaped England during these years; (3) to illustrate how cultural and political ideals shape men's thinking and have their reflections in and are reflected by literature. Selections may include Beowulf, Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Shakespeare's plays and Swift's writings.
- This survey course is independent of English 371, which is not a prerequisite. It covers the principal figures, styles, themes and philosophies represented during three literary periods: the Romantic Era, the Victorian Age and the Twentieth Century. It exposes students to major works of literature including poetry, plays, short stories, novels and essays. It enables students to appreciate the thoughts and contributions of outstanding writers such as Keats, Wordsworth, Tennyson, Browning, Yeats and Eliot, as well as Dickens, Joyce and Lawrence.
- This course presents a global approach to literature by introducing prose, poetry and drama representative of different world cultures and historical periods, from antiquity to the early modern era. Students engage in close readings of individual texts and contextual/comparative analyses. Written and spoken activities are designed to enhance students? appreciation of literature and their awareness of the ways it arises from, shapes and reflects the world?s cultures.
- This course presents a global approach to literature by introducing prose, poetry and drama representative of different cultures and historical periods, from the 17th century to the present. Students engage in close readings of individual texts and contextual/comparative analyses. Written and spoken activities are designed to enhance students? appreciation of literature and their awareness of the ways it arises from, shapes, and reflects the world?s cultures.
Research and Projects
John Clare, Personification, Labouring-Class Poetry
Derbyshire, Nancy. “The Labouring-Class Bird.” Birds in Eighteenth-Century Literature: Reason, Emotion, and Ornithology, 1700-1840. Eds. Brycchan Carey, Sayre Greenfield, and Anne Milne. Palgrave Macmillan (2020). ( e-book IBSN: 978-3-030-32792-7; hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-32791-0)
Derbyshire, Nancy. “Proceedings of the John Clare Panel at the 2020 MLA Convention.” John Clare Society of North America Newsletter, Feb. 2020.
Derbyshire, Nancy. “The Fire of Labouring Genius in John Clare’s ‘Dawnings of Genius.’” The Explicator 77.2 (April-June 2019): 53-6. DOI: 10.1080/00144940.2019.1584084.
Derbyshire, Nancy. “The Purposive Emptiness of Elizabeth Bentley.” Women’s Writing 27.2 (January 2019). DOI: 10.1080/09699082.2019.1569310.
Derbyshire, Nancy. Book Review of John Clare: Nature, Criticism, and History, by Simon Kövesi, and John Clare’s Romanticism, by Adam White. The Wordsworth Circle 49.4 (Autumn 2018): 245-50. https://doi.org/10.1086/TWC4904245.
Derbyshire, Nancy. “The License of Listening.” The John Clare Society Journal 37 (June 2018): 41-61.
Honors, Awards and Affiliations
Provost’s Travel Award, 2018-2019.
William Stewart Travel Award, 2016-2017.
Provost’s Travel Award, 2016-2017.
Diana Hacker Award, Two Year College English Association, 2016.
Chancellor’s Fellowship, The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, 2006-9.
Graduate Assistant Fellowship, Hunter College, CUNY, 2009-11.
Travel Award, Student Affairs, The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, 2007.
Best Graduate Student Paper, New York College English Association, October 2004.
“Teaching Love of Literary Prose to Criminal Justice and Education Majors through Survival Literature,” New York College English Association Annual Conference, Queens, NY, October 2018.
“The Two Johns: Keats, Clare, and Descriptive Modes in Romantic Verse,” North American Society for the Study of Romanticism Annual Conference, Providence, RI, June 2018.
“Student Learning Outcomes for Digital versus Paper Reading,” BMCC SoTL Forum, November 2017.
“The Boundary Case of Elizabeth Bentley, British Labouring-Class Poet and Teacher,” New York College English Association Annual Conference, Rochester, NY, October 2017.
“Working-Class Women Poets and the Eighteenth Century Literary Marketplace,” Modern Language Association Annual Convention, Philadelphia, PA, January 2017.
“John Clare & Sound Play: Ascribing Orality and Aurality to the Nonhuman.” BMCC English Department Faculty Forum Talk, November 2016.
“BMCC Teaching Academy: Conducting SOTL Research in the Composition and ESL Classroom.” Two-Year College English Association Northeast Annual Conference, Hartford, CT, October 2016.
“BMCC Teaching Academy: Building a Teaching College one Cohort at a Time.” Two-Year College English Association Northeast Annual Conference, Lancaster, PA, October 2015.
“The Ramblin’ John Clare: Walking as Conversation.” North American Society for the Study of Romanticism Conference, Boston, MA, August 2013.
“‘Wandering outlaw of his own dark mind’: Modern Incarnations of Byron.” Byron & Modernity Conference, Vancouver, British Columbia, October 2007.
“Natural Civics: Analogy and Mimesis in Prometheus Unbound.” Wide Open Spaces: The Graduate Center English Student Association Conference, New York, NY, March 2007.
“Beat the Pattern: Aesthetic Figurations of the Mystical Experience in Beat Literature.” Northeast Modern Language Association Conference, Boston, MA, March 2005.
“Narrative Voice in Vanity Fair: Towards a Reader Participation.” New Jersey College English Association Meeting, South Orange, NJ. March 2004, New York College English Association Meeting, Rochester, NY, October 2004.
The John Clare Society of North America.
The Keats-Shelley Association of America
Modern Language Association
New York College English Association
North American Society for the Study of Romanticism