Department of English

Luis Cataldo Wins George H. Mitchell Award

Fri, May 12, 2017
Luis Cataldo Wins George H. Mitchell Award
Luis Cataldo

Luis Cataldo has won the University Co-op George H. Mitchell Award for Academic Excellence, a prestigious award given every year to five undergraduate students for superior scholarly or creative achievement. 

Cataldo was nominated for his senior thesis, which provides a new critical reading of Moby Dick. In the paper, Cataldo argues that literary critics usually privilege the story of Ahab and the Pequod over The Whale, so he seeks to undo the rigidity of that critical approach in order to read any particular part of Moby-Dick; or, The Whale on its own terms. He argues for a renewal of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s demands for American scholarship—the need for creative reading (finding the links between literature and everyday life) and creative writing about those experiences of creative reading.

He was honored to receive the award for his project, and proud to end his senior year at UT on such a high note:  

"I was surprised when they told me that I had won the award; I wasn't expecting it, really. But, it feels really good actually, to have my project recognized like that. When I began last semester, when I was starting, I was having some problems feeling motivated to write it, so I decided that I wanted to be as creative as possible with it.

My supervisor, Professor Evan Carton, and Professor George Christian really encouraged me with that when I told them about wanting to be creative. So it finally began to pick up, and I have felt good about it since about December. Like I said, it is really reassuring for that creativity to be recognized. I want to thank Professor Carton, Professor Christian, Professor James Cox, Professor Sam Baker, and also Brad Humphries for helping me figure out the direction of this thing in the first place, as well as for our conversations along the way." 

Congratulations Luis!

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