The Literary Encyclopedia Travel Award 2017

The awards went to:

Eleanor Careless, PhD candidate, University of Sussex “Charged with Terrorism: Gender and Political Violence in the Poetry of Anna Mendelssohnˮ
This research project is the first sustained study of the poet, artist and activist Anna Mendelssohn (1948-2009) alongside comparative figures including Muriel Rukeyser and Nancy Cunard. The project argues that Mendelssohn's experimental, highly political poetry permits an unusual degree of insight into how ˮterroristˮ subjects represent themselves. In 1972 Mendelssohn was charged of conspiracy to commit explosions, and sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment. With close reference to literary archives, media accounts, trial transcripts and other primary data, the project examines the ways in which gendered representations of political violence drove terror and counter-terror strategies in Britain and America in the 1970s. The central argument is that the temporary measures and gender constructs of the 1970s paved the way for counter-terror legislation in Britain and the US today. The award would enable the examination of the Nancy Cunard Collection, held in Austin, Texas. The material held there would allow for the development of a comparative chapter on Mendelssohn, Cunard and their profoundly Surrealist poetics - the only detailed study of this kind, which is likely to generate considerable interest from scholars of both poets. Encouraged by the recent publication of Nancy Cunard's Selected Poems by Sandeep Parmar, it seems a timely moment to study artistic output that inscribes a lived experience of resistance.

Naomi Wood, Lecturer and Writer, Goldsmiths, University of London “Torch Songˮ A Novel
Following the success of the widely-acclaimed debut novel Mrs Hemingway, the work-in-progress Torch Song is a historical novel set in the German Bauhaus between 1923 and 1933. This is a time of glorious permission and abrupt control: the novel goes from the classical city of Weimar, to Walter Gropius' modernist architectural masterpiece of the Bauhaus in Dessau, and eventually to the school's tragic closure in Nazi Berlin. This is a story of the birth, and the suffocation, of modernity in the twentieth century. Funding from the Literary Encyclopaedia will be used to undertake primary research at the archives in Weimar, Dessau and Berlin, as well interviewing the librarians and curators of the Bauhaus archives and buildings.

Arendse Lund, PhD candidate, University College London - “Literature and Law in Anglo-Saxon Englandˮ
Anglo-Saxon law-codes and charters comprise the largest and most diverse corpus of legal texts surviving from early medieval Europe. This project sets out to explore links between the development of literary language and the development of legal language. Building on the influential work of Patrick Wormald and including discourses on the use of literary and legal language and the perception of authenticity and authority, the project brings together the stylistic and rhetorical elements to assess whether the Anglo-Saxon legal codes had a more fluid relationship with Old English literature than previously acknowledged. The purpose of the archival research is to examine the unedited or undigitised early medieval legal manuscripts in the Royal Library, the National Library of Denmark, and the Copenhagen University Library, including the Arnamagn]an Manuscript Collection. The Danish collections contain important manuscripts crucial to this research, as the majority of scholarship on the intersection of literature and law rely on the Old Norse corpus. This will be important for comparison, especially in light of England as an Anglo-Danish settlement.

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Alexandra Parsons, PhD candidate, University College London - “Derek Jarman and Life Writingˮ
British filmmaker, writer, artist and activist Derek Jarman (1942-94) blended visionary queer politics with experimental self-representation. The connection between art and activism underpins Jarman's powerful, imaginative response to the HIV/AIDS crisis. Like a number of New York artists and writers including David Wojnarowicz, Keith Haring, Peter Hujar and Edmund White, Jarman consistently created art with material drawn from his own life, using it as a generative activist force. The LE award will help in funding a three-month period of research at Yale University, which is rich in relevant archival resources, in order to critique the transatlantic dimension of Jarman's response to the HIV/AIDS crisis. This research makes a significant contribution to LGBTQ+ studies by providing the first full-length study of Jarman's writing, incorporating analyses of his strategic self-representations across literature, film and art.

The reports on the completed research projects are forthcoming.

The Literary Encyclopedia Travel Award 2016

The awards went to:

Andrew Keener, PhD candidate, Northwestern University - “Theaters of Translation: Cosmopolitan Vernaculars in Shakespeare’s England”
The research project examines the connections between Renaissance drama and 16th &17th century language-learning publications: the project argues that the works of William Shakespeare, Mary Sidney, Ben Jonson, and other playwrights exemplify “cosmopolitan vernaculars,” both on the page and on the stage. By this term, the author refers to multiple, non-classical languages in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that overlap, intersect, and communicate with each other across a wide variety of manuscript and printed materials, literary and non-literary. This project employs a forensic approach to surviving multilingual dictionaries, grammars, and dialogue books in order to identify cosmopolitan vernaculars and to analyze their functions in dramatic settings.

Anne Royston, PhD Candidate, Utah University“Between Theory and Artist’s Book: Materiality, Writing, Technology”
The project traces a genealogy of experimental “artists’ books” (from Bataille and Derrida through Avital Ronell, Mark C. Taylor, and Johanna Drucker), aiming to address the interface of information and materiality. It is framed by questions of “media-specificity” (how a text communicates; how media-specific practices, applied to both analog and digital technologies, shape our understanding of what we read), but, while most media-specific work is oriented to the new media of digital-cultural, this project considers a no less urgent set of questions about the affordances of “old media”, how the book works as a formal and material technology that solicits and enables particular modes of reading and attention. Steeped in the traditions of continental philosophy, each of the chosen texts interrogates the very conditions of book production, organization, and reception, and how, in doing so, they make unusual demands on their readers.

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Spenser Tricker, PhD candidate, Miami University - “‘A Healthful Industry’: Racialized Labor and Pacific Piracy in James Fenimore Cooper’s The Crater”
This research project seeks to shift the focus of nineteenth-century American literary studies away from its conventional emphasis on transatlantic exchanges to a reconsideration of Pacific contexts. An additional innovation is its comparative, bilingual approach (the first section explores the work of canonical American writers James Fenimore Cooper and Herman Melville, while the second addresses the Hispanophone work of Filipino nationalist figure José Rizal and the writings of Asian-American author Sui Sin Far). It thus attends to a wide array of canonical and less conventional literary works, maintaining that the gothic genre developed concomitantly with the creation of the arbitrary islander in nineteenth-century U.S literary history. This genre proved especially well-suited to imagining the Pacific world as a foreboding and epistemologically vexing site populated with figures that threatened U.S. imperial and commercial ambitions. The research develops its own account of biopolitics that revises as much as it draws on this discourse’s theoretical suppositions. Finally, it builds upon the recent turn away from strictly symptomatic readings of the gothic to examine how this genre works on the surface to depict emerging rather than repressed threats to Anglo-American culture.

You can read the reports on the research results achieved here:

The Literary Encyclopedia Travel Award 2015

The awards went to:

Robert Imes, PhD candidate, University of Saskatchevan‘A History of Leicestershire Chorographies: From Leland to Burton’
Imes’ research surveys the development of early modern chorographies (regional geographical texts) of Leicestershire, focusing in particular on the corpus of cartographer William Smith (1550-1618) in order to contextualize a uniquely sophisticated map of Leicestershire that he published in William Burton’s (1575-1645) Description of Leicestershire (1622). His research engages dynamically the work of scholars who study early modern chorography and cartography, but the analyses of original primary texts that he will undertake in Oxford with the help of this travel grant will facilitate the inclusion of these lesser-known texts in the larger scholarly community. In its conjunction of primary textual analysis with larger geographical, bibliographical and cartographic contexts, this project tunes in with our desire to explore and encourage intellectual and scholarly research into all aspects of cultural geography.

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Dr Anne Markey, Dublin City University, Editor for the Irish Literature volume of The Literary Encyclopedia‘The Godwins’ Juvenile Library’
This project aims to compare and contrast the extent to which the Juvenile Library, established in 1805 by William Godwin and his second wife, Mary Jane, can be described as a vehicle for social and political reform and the extent to which its output reflected the demands and constraints of the early nineteenth-century market in children's books. The grant will enable Anne to complete research (by consulting the Osborne Collection of Children’s books in Toronto, whose holdings include approximately 40 Juvenile Library publications) which will contribute significantly to critical revaluations of Georgian children’s literature as well as to ongoing assessments of William Godwin’s work and legacy.

You can read the reports on the research results achieved here:

The Emory Elliott Undergraduate Memorial Prize

This prize was discontinued in 2012 and replaced by our Research Travel Award, a competition launched in January every year.

Click here to see the 2011 Prize-winning Essays.

Click here to see the 2010 Prize-winning Essays.

Click here to see the 2009 Prize-winning Essays.