Courtesy of Dr. Steve Canaday
Students in two sections of English 102 last spring collaborated to publish an edition of William Faulkner’s iconic novel, “As I Lay Dying,” with their insights on the characters in the story.
Called a critical edition, the students’ version of the novel included their research on the seven main characters in the book, which was published in 1930.
“It is really very interesting to witness this dynamic of having the students published,” said Robert Thompson, a second-year computer science student who was in one of the classes.
The two classes’ professor, Dr. Steve Canaday, started the project because he had the idea to turn research papers into an analysis of the novel itself. In addition, he had the students annotate the book — that is, they added notes of explanation and interpretation where they felt the story needed it.
“There’s a tremendous amount going on [in the novel], and you’re not even aware of it at first, and you gradually become aware of it,” said Canaday.
The class came up with close to 700 annotations. Almost every page of the novel includes three to five notes of clarification from the students.
“You can put this book in somebody’s hand,” Canaday said. “You can say, I’m published, which is pretty cool.”
He added: “You write a research paper, you hand it in to a teacher, you get it back with a grade on it. And it’s just an assignment for a class but that’s not why people do research. People do research to push knowledge a little further and then share that with people and so that’s why you get books.”
Kevin Miller, the director of AACC’s document services, formatted the novel with the annotations and critical notes and printed 50 copies so each of the approximately 36 students who worked on the project could have one.
“The book could have only been an idea without him,” Canaday said.
Canaday’s students said they enjoyed the project.
“It was definitely more time consuming because we had to do not only our papers, but we had to edit and arrange things within the book as well,” said Kristen Brown, a second-year education student, who added, “It’s actually been one of my favorite experiences overall at AACC.”
“So right off of the starting line, it was just a pleasurable experience because [Canaday] was so excited about it,” Thompson said. “And that excitement was infectious to the students that participated.”