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Major of the Month: Danylo Loutchko

Literary pilgrimages are a must, according to this English-Theatre double major
December 13, 2017

English major Danylo Loutchko on stage

English major Danylo Loutchko on stage
English-Theatre double major Danylo Loutchko won a Donald V. Hawkins scholarship

Year: Senior
Hometown: St. Anthony Village, MN

Why did you choose to major in English?

I like reading.

What has been your favorite part of your experience in the department?

"We have some of the
smartest, most passionate,
and most knowledgeable
professors on campus."

I’ve had so many professors that have been really amazing. For me, it’s mattered less about the actual content of the class and more about how enthusiastic and passionate the professor was and how the professor got us to think about the material in new ways. We have some of the smartest, most passionate, and most knowledgeable professors on campus. I know each department might have a few, but I feel like we have a higher concentration.

Are you pursuing any majors, minors, internships, or fields of interest outside your English major? How do you feel they interact with or enhance your study of English? (We hear you do circus art/comedy!)

I’m also a Theatre major. The main benefit of this has been when we read plays (*cough*Shakespeare*cough*), I can approach it both from a literary angle and from a more applied/theatrical angle. Thinking about staging, acting, lighting, and costumes makes reading a play much more engaging than seeing it simply as a piece of literature to read as you would a book.

In addition, being an English major in the Theatre department also means that I can take my literary skills and apply them to plays I’m reading or acting in, which has helped me reach a greater depth of meaning than I would have without my lit-based analysis skills.

What English course would you recommend for majors? For non-majors who want to take an English class?

Both for majors and non-majors I would recommend anything taught by Professor John Watkins. It might be difficult, but if you really engage with the material on his level, his classes can open your eyes to wonderful aspects of the world you didn’t know existed. I don’t usually gush, but there it is.

If you studied abroad, what did you take away from the experience?

I studied abroad in Montpellier, France. But I also traveled a lot around Europe. One thing I took away is that making literary pilgrimages (going the graves of authors you like, places they wrote about in books you love, etc.) is totally worth it, and everyone should do it.

Best book you've read recently?

It's actually five books. It’s a series titled My Struggle (yes, you read that right) by a Norwegian writer named Karl Ove Knausgaard. It’s basically just him writing in the first person about the details, events, and stuggles of his life. No fanfare, no grand themes, no life advice, just his life up to the present. It’s pretty remarkable. There’s really no structure to the narrative except that each book is about a different period of his life. It’s exciting at times and pretty boring at others, but like a critic said, “Even when I was bored, I was interested.” You might ask, “What does a middle-aged Norwegian man’s life have to do with me and my life?” You would think the answer would be "Nothing," but I was extremely surprised to find that was not the case. By no means do you have to read all of them, but I certainly learned a lot about myself and my own life through reading about his.