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Elliot  Engel

Elliot Engel

Scholar, Author & Playwright

Biography

Professor Elliot Engel is considered the most insightful, personable, and entertaining academic keynote speaker to come out of academia in the last fifty years. His witty, engaging speaking style imparts hard, factual information, leaving his audiences virtually spellbound, yet charmed by periods of laughter and flashes of insight. Using anecdotes, analysis, and large doses of humor, he gives new insights into the backgrounds, accomplishments, and lives of the great masters of English and American literature. Read More >

Published in both Great Britain and the US, Engel is the author of seven books including, A Dab of Dickens & A Touch of Twain: Literary Lives from Shakespeare's Old England to Frost's New England. His articles have appeared in numerous magazines, including Newsweek. As one of the most sought after and beloved speakers on literature, his mini-lecture series on his favorite literary hero, Charles Dickens, appeared on PBS stations nationwide.

As a professor, Engel has taught courses at Duke University, NC State University, and University of North Carolina. For his scholarship and teaching, he has received North Carolina’s Adult Education Award and the Victorian Society Award of Merit. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

FYC Convocation

Speech Topics

Scarlett Fever: Gone with the Wind

Dr. Engel examines the wild popularity, from its publication in 1936 through today, of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, and, uncovering the intriguing background of both author and book, proves that this work should be considered one of our great American novels.

The Dickens Nobody Knows

Dr. Engel presents a lively visit to the exuberant world of Charles Dickens, the man acclaimed by critics and readers alike as perhaps the greatest novelist in the English language. He bares the surprising roots of Dickens’ unique imagination and demonstrates that the author’s life was far more astonishing than any of his novels.

How William Became Shakespeare

A light and enlightening look at the author whom most critics call the greatest writer in English. In this witty and penetrating lecture, Dr. Engel explains the fascinating reasons why Shakespeare’s beautiful language and brilliant characters have delighted audiences for over 400 years.

The Genius of Mark Twain

In this entertaining lecture, Dr. Engel brings to life the author whom most critics call our greatest American writer. By focusing on the most interesting aspects of Mark Twain’s own life, Professor Engel sets the background for an appreciation of the classic works that Twain wrote during his distinguished career as America’s spokesman throughout the world.

Our Slippery Mother Tongue: A Light History of English

Through historical incidents and analysis and always with humor, Dr. Engel shows how and why the English language developed in such an amazing way. He explains how the Germans and French contributed in their different fashions to shaping the English of today, and he gives Chaucer his deserved recognition as the first great master of our language.

The Brilliant & Bizarre Brontës

In this stimulating lecture, Dr. Engel explores the extraordinary lives of Charlotte and Emily Brontë, the sisters who produced two of the greatest English novels: Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, and, with insight and humor, examines the unique genius of these two women and their classic books.

The Inimitable Winston Churchill

Dr. Engel has dug deeply into numerous Churchill biographies and records to discover delightful yet virtually unknown stories which reveal an even more inspiring public and private figure. Professor Engel stresses the very human and touching child and adolescent, as well as the triumphant and witty statesman, in this memorable portrait of a twentieth-century great.

Myth Emily Dickinson

With humor and penetrating insight, Dr. Engel separates myth from reality as he explores the strange life and writing career of the most remarkable poet of the nineteenth century. Through biographical anecdotes and literary analysis he explains the reasons for Emily Dickinson’s great and enduring popularity with modern audiences.

The Tortured Genius of Edgar Allen Poe

Dr. Engel recounts this most pathetic of literary lives and then demonstrates how Poe was able to transform his obsessions, failures, and horrific visions into brilliant fiction and poetry. Both poems and short stories are examined in this illuminating exposition of Poe’s entire literary scope.

Leonardo DaVinci Before the Code

Dr. Engel uncovers the fascinating intellectual triumphs and the tragic personal failures of this unique genius. He brings to life the greatest of Renaissance men, and he even reveals the secret of Mona Lisa’s smile.

The History & Mystery of Wine

Dr. Engel pours forth the fascinating story of wine from its origin 8000 years ago. He reveals how the Greeks, Romans, Christians and Jews all contributed to its mystique and shows why it almost disappeared entirely before its amazing revival and wild popularity today.

The Journey of Money

Dr. Engel discusses the invention of money in long-ago Turkey and its astonishing development through ancient and modern civilizations. You’ll never again take the coins in your purse or pocket for granted after hearing this delightful lecture.