Senior Victor Xavier Zarour Zarzar Awarded Prestigious Fellowship

An English Literature major from Mexico, Victor Xavier Zarour Zarzar is going to City University of New York (CUNY) to pursue a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature in the fall. He is the recipient of the highly competitive CUNY Graduate Center Humanities Fellowship, which provides a full tuition scholarship in addition to a an annual stipend.

English Literature Professor Shannon Russell had this to say about Victor: “Victor has truly impressive intellectual and personal skills and is always challenging himself to go one step further in his understanding of his subject and his world. He’s thoughtful on every level — and he writes like a dream. We will miss him, but he has a very exciting future ahead and his JCU family will be watching his progress with pride.”

Read the interview with Victor:

What makes you passionate about comparative literature?
I am Mexican, my grandmothers are Haitian, and I have lived in Italy. These factors influenced me to do something that would allow me to explore different kinds of literature, and not exclusively American or English literature.

How were you able to nurture your passion for literature at JCU?
I have to thank my professors for that. Their fields don’t overlap too much, which allowed me to get excited about their courses. It was wonderful to talk to Professor Connelly about Shakespeare, and to Professor Russell about Dickens, for example. At JCU I was able to get the attention I needed from professors due to the small classroom setting. I am really passionate about literature, and when the professors understood that, we were able to establish a wonderful connection.

In a society that has become dependent on visual media, do you think there is still room for literature?
Absolutely. Take the Oscars for example. Many great movies originated from books. Film is a great way to popularize, but the stories have to initially be invented through literature.

What are your thoughts on printed books versus e-books?
When I started having a lot of books to carry for my studies, my e-book reader was extremely convenient. Although I love my library, e-books allow me to carry that library around with me anywhere.

What are some of your favorite authors and works of literature?
Two of my absolutely favorite works of literature are The Idiot by Dostoyevsky and Great Expectations by Dickens. My favorite contemporary poets include Seamus Heaney and Billy Collins.

Learn more about studying English Literature at John Cabot University in Rome.