Bread Loaf School of English

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The Bread Loaf School of English is the graduate school of English at Middlebury College. The School offers graduate courses in literature, creative writing, the teaching of writing, and theater. Classes are held for six weeks each summer. The School awards two degrees. Each year, approximately 90 students earn a Master of Arts (M.A.) and 5 or fewer students earn a Master of Letters (M.Litt), for which an M.A. is a prerequisite. Each degree can be completed in four to five intensive summers spread over different campuses.

The School was established in 1920 at the College's mountain campus in Ripton, Vermont near Bread Loaf Mountain and has since expanded to campuses at Lincoln College at the University of Oxford, St. John's College in New Mexico, and the University of North Carolina at Asheville.

Around 80% of students are middle school and high school teachers. The student-to-faculty ratio is 10:1.

Founding and history[edit]

In 1915, the first of the Middlebury Language Schools was founded. As the German School and, subsequently, other Language Schools were founded, Middlebury decided to begin a similar school for the teaching of English literature. The Bread Loaf School of English was established in 1920.[1]

Poet Robert Frost was involved with the first half-century of the Bread Loaf School. He purchased an 150 acre farm in the immediate vicinity, now owned by Middlebury College and known as the Robert Frost Farm, and subsequently spent more than 40 summers lecturing at the School.[2]

In a 1960 Paris Review interview, Frost was asked, "You were a cofounder of the school, weren't you?" He responded:

They say that. I think I had more to do with the starting of the conference. In a very casual way, I said to the president [of Middlebury], “Why don’t you use the place for a little sociability after the school is over?” I thought of no regular business—no pay, no nothing, just inviting literary people, a few, for a week or two. The kitchen staff was still there. But then they started a regular business of it.[3]

Faculty and staff[edit]

In addition to Robert Frost, prominent faculty and staff have included William Carlos Williams, Bernard DeVoto, Edward Weismiller, Theodore Roethke, John Crowe Ransom, Elizabeth Drew, A. Bartlett Giamatti, Perry Miller, Catherine Drinker Bowen, Carlos Baker, Harold Bloom, Cleanth Brooks, Charles Edward Eaton, Richard Ellman, Paul Muldoon, William Sloane, John Ciardi, John P. Marquand, Wylie Sypher, and Dixie Goswami.[4]

Campuses[edit]

Bread Loaf Mountain campus[edit]

The School of English's central location is Middlebury College's 1,800-acre (730 ha) mountain campus in Ripton, Vermont, 12 miles (19 km) east of Middlebury on a plateau within sight of Bread Loaf Mountain. Between 1860 and 1910, Joseph Battell acquired vast tracts of land and left 31,000 acres (13,000 ha) to Middlebury College upon his death in 1915. The College sold nearly all property to form the core of the Green Mountain National Forest in the 1930s and 1950s, but retained the mountain campus and the rustic summer resort Battell developed. In addition to hosting the School of English and the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the mountain campus is home to Middlebury College's Rikert Ski Touring Center during the winter months.

The campus consists of two-dozen clapboard buildings serving as dormitories, classrooms, and social space. An additional seven cottages are located within one mile of the main campus. The Bread Loaf Inn, which now acts as a dormitory and dining hall, was built in 1861 and subsequently expanded in the Second Empire-style.[5] The campus is known for its distinctive mustard-colored buildings dating from Battell's era; structures built since 1915 are painted white and generally of the Colonial revival-style.

The campus hosts around 250 students every summer.

Other campuses[edit]

The Lincoln College, Oxford location was first used in 1978 and enrolls about 90 students each year; Bread Loaf School of English uses Lincoln College's facilities during the University of Oxford's long summer vacation. The New Mexico campus at St. John's College, Santa Fe, has enrolled 80 students every summer since 1991.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]