Professor of English
Words: Adrianna Wright ’01
Photos: Tony Hughes
For Dr. Christine Colón, who has taught 19th-century English literature at Wheaton for two decades and co-led six Wheaton in England trips, it is not difficult to see why authors like Jane Austen or Charles Dickens are still important.
“Individuals in 19th-century England suddenly had more opportunities for choice, and they had to learn how to use those opportunities well. Today, we have even more choices and the speed at which society changes has only increased, so I find that the key questions these authors were asking still have so much relevance to us today. How do we live better lives? How do we make our world better? How do we serve God well in the confusions of our own personal lives and also in the confusion of the world around us? I find it fascinating to explore the answers that 19th-century authors were providing for their society and to reflect on what we can learn from their attempts (both good and bad) to solve the problems they were experiencing,” Dr. Colón said.
One highlight of Dr. Colón’s time at Wheaton has been the many hours she spends in the Wade Center studying the works of Dorothy L. Sayers. While writing her newest book, Choosing Community, she found Sayers’ work particularly useful when applied to questions about singleness in the church, another topic on which Dr. Colón focuses her research (see one of her earlier books, Singled Out: Why Celibacy Must Be Reinvented in Today’s Church).
“While Sayers didn’t address singleness explicitly, her ideas on Christian community and the valuable role that each individual with his or her unique talents and interests needs to play to help that community function well can be really useful as we think about practical ways we can begin to engage each other better in the church,” said Dr. Colón.