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Photo by Clayton Cotterell

Dylan Holmes ’17

comparative literature

Hometown: Albuquerque, New Mexico

 Who I was when I got to Reed: I was kind of arrogant in high school, but when I first came to Reed, I felt like I was profoundly stupid. I simply hadn’t been exposed to many of the texts here, including the Hum 110 texts. In high school, the most advanced reading we did was Macbeth, and partway through we just gave up and listened to the audio recordings in class.

Influential book: Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal perfectly strikes the delicate balance between sensorial pleasure and modernist lament.

Obstacles I have overcome: I’m the first person in my family to get a bachelor’s degree. Going to college also meant coming to terms with my gay identity, which I found all the more difficult to do with this fire under my feet. So, I had to overcome the pitfalls of being poor and gay. 

Favorite class: Prof. Michael Taylor’s [English 1995–] German Landscapes: New World Horizons moved seamlessly among fiction, poetry, theory, art, and film to point out the truly intertextual (and political) nature of aesthetics.

Cool stuff: I was a student senator, worked with a documentary filmmaker, coordinated on-campus HIV testing, wrote for the Grail, acted in student productions, and cofounded the Queer Masculine Peer Group.

How Reed changed me: A lot of us come into this college thinking we’re superstars, and then get our asses handed to us by a team of frightfully intelligent professors and peers. Reed taught me the art of strategic planning, opened me up to radically different perspectives, and provided me with a sophisticated, intellectual tool kit that I can put to use for the rest of my life.

Adviser: Prof. Mónica López Lerma [Spanish 2015–]

Thesis: “Seeing Between the Wander Lines: Elaborating the Communal Cinema of Fernand Deligny”

What it’s about: I examine films that were produced or directed by Fernand Deligny, a 20th- century French educator, as a realization of his more general body of practices. I hope to elaborate how his reorientation of the camera, subject, and spectator create aesthetically and politically what I call a “communal cinema.” Deligny was interested in what forms when you go about the world without trying to transcribe order, or categorize things. He wanted to cut past all the noise, and all the words, and learn how to exist and how to appreciate the pure beauty that is life.

What it’s really about: I want people to care about movies this strange French hermit made.

What’s next: I’m going to be teaching English in France for the coming school year. I’m planning to work for a year or two, pick up amateur filmmaking as a hobby, and then apply to graduate schools. 

Financial aid: I am thankful for the financial aid office, the Alice Corbett Scholarship, and the people out there who keep Reed afloat monetarily.

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