Gabriella Voo’s long fascination with America led to a career in American studies that fed her interests in 19th century literature, popular culture and empire building. The professor from the Hungarian University of Pecs was a Fulbright visiting scholar in Oswego's English department last year.
“What caught my eye in American studies, American literature, was this defiance of the rules all the time,” said Voo (pronounced Veux). “It seems Europe set the rules, but Americans came along and overthrew them.”
Voo taught a course at Oswego on novelist Herman Melville in the era of manifest destiny while working on a book about 19th century American writers that she hoped would show Hungarian readers that the works of Melville and Cooper have meaning and appeal beyond that of adventure tales for boys.
And Voo said she found Oswego students refreshingly open. She recalled how a student in her Melville class, amazed with Voo's knowledge of American literature and history, wondered aloud how a Hungarian professor could know more about America's past than Americans.