The Literary Encyclopedia Previous Travel Award

The Literary Encyclopedia Research Travel Awards 2023

First place - £750

Matthew Fogarty, Associate Lecturer, University of Maynooth, Ireland – Identity Politics and the Jazz Aesthetic: Ethnicity, Gender, and Class in Modern Transatlantic Literature

This is a daring and wide-ranging comparative project looking at how white writers from Britain and Ireland have used and abused the jazz aesthetic to address complex issues around ethnicity, gender, and social class. It looks closely to examples of jazz literature (poetry, drama, and prose fiction) in the writings of Lola Ridge, Aldous Huxley, Aelfrida Tillyard, Philip Larkin, Christopher Logue, Stewart Parker, and Roddy Doyle, building them into an intersectional dialogue with the work of black writers whose names are synonymous with the jazz aesthetic, such as Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Ishmael Reed, and Gayl Jones. This is the first study to adopt such a wide-angle approach to assessing the importance of the roles performed by the jazz aesthetic in modern literature: it evaluates how these British and Irish writers engaged with the literal and symbolic significance of a number of jazz-related cultural contexts, including the Harlem Renaissance and the Prohibition era in the US, the anti-jazz campaign in Ireland, the influx of 300,000 US troops to Northern Ireland during World War II, and the arrival of the “Windrush Generation” and the struggle for sexual liberation and civil rights in post-war Britain. On the other hand, it examines how these British and Irish writers utilised literary techniques that call to mind intrinsic characteristics of the jazz aesthetic, such as polyphony, improvisation, rhythmic syncopation, and chordal inversion. In this regard, the proposed monograph that builds on this project brings the pivotal cross-cultural lessons of the twentieth century to bear on contemporary debates around identity politics in ways that are at once illuminating and necessary.

Second place - £500 each

  • Benjamin Griffiths, PhD candidate, University of Birmingham - In the afterglow of the Novelas ejemplares: exemplarity and censorship in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century editions of Spanish exemplary short fiction (ESF)
    The project looks at the impact of censorship from a range of sources, including the Inquisition and printer-booksellers, on the transmission of exemplarity in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century editions of ESF. With a corpus ranging from Cervantes’ Novelas ejemplares (1613), Juan Pérez de Montalbán’s Sucesos y prodigios de amor (1624) and Para todos (1632) and María de Zayas y Sotomayor’s Novelas amorosas y ejemplares (1637) and Desengaños amorosos (1647), the project aims to fill a gap in the scholarship which has traditionally focused on the ‘intentionality’ of the authors, by examining how changing editorial approaches were informed by the development of the concept of ‘Golden Age’ in eighteenth-century Spain.
  • Jessica Reid, PhD Candidate, University of Glasgow – From pamphleteer to playwright: Thomas St Serfe and the printed text in the early Scottish public sphere
    This is a highly original work, the first dedicated study of the life and writings of Thomas St Serfe, translator, playwright, intelligencer, and pamphleteer from Edinburgh during the 17th century, supporter of the royalist cause, whose aim is to produce an up-to-date biography of St Serfe and a study of his writings which contextualises them in mid-seventeenth-century literary culture. The funds will be used to access a collection of manuscript newsletters from the court of Charles II held at The Library of Congress in the US, which hold the potential to reveal key information on the nature of print in the early Scottish public sphere.
  • Elsa Kienberger, PhD candidate, Goldsmiths UL - Elizabeth Robins's Magnetic North: Translating Gender in Boreal Literature and Theatre
    Elsa Kienberger's research into Robins' multiple representations of the 'North' is fresh and original on many levels. Starting from the concept of 'borealism' as 'displacement of the [northern] landscape by poets and artists whose aesthetic and intellectual priorities transform it, her translations of Ibsen's plays, for instance, bring to light her crucial and hitherto unrecognised role in making their shared themes of women's emancipation more explicit to English audiences. Her belief in women's emancipation transforms "the North" into a liminal space wherein British audiences can imagine challenging traditional gender hierarchies. Not only does Robins disrupt constructions of nineteenth-century women's roles, but she also confronts imperial hierarchies of class and race in both her translations and fiction.

The Literary Encyclopedia Research Travel Award 2022

After a gap of two years during which we were forced to suspend the Research Travel Award competition due to Covid19-related travel restrictions, we were pleased to be able to extend our support to the projects below:

First place - £750

David Lombard, PhD candidate / Contributor, University of Liège, Belgium – The Rhetorics and Narratologies of the Sublime in the Contemporary American Environmental Memoir and Novel

This research project sets out to explore the affordances and limits of the sublime for figuring modes of materiality and non/human agency in contemporary American memoirs and novels which question the nature/culture divide. Situated at the intersection of the fields of American literary studies, environmental humanities, narratology, and rhetorical theory, the project is an extended, excellently articulated comparative textual analysis that alerts readers to an ethics of care for non/human others. The research stay in the USA will result in an already contracted monograph, several journal articles and book reviews, and is strongly supported by distinguished scholars in the field.

Second place - £500 each

  • Amy Blaney, PhD candidate, Keele University - Forming the Arthurian Idyll, 1688-1820
    The project investigates literary engagements with Arthurian legend in the long 18th century, demonstrating that Arthur and his knights were conscripted in various ways across poetry, fiction, drama, and visual works to intervene in debates about historiography, gender, class, and national identity. By examining both canonical and neglected works, the project situates the 18th century as a crucial period for the formation of the Arthurian idyll, anticipating and shaping later Victorian reworkings, and interpreting ways in which 18th century medievalism was politically engaged. The visits proposed at The Centre for Arthurian Studies and Bangor University Library and the National Library of Scotland are essential to the successful completion of the project.
  • Krista Kapphahn, Independent Researcher/ Contributor – Amatory and Romantic Language in Welsh Panegyric Poetry
    This is a post-doctoral project that looks at the use of amatory language and a pseudo-romantic relationship posited between the poet and patron in medieval Welsh praise poetry. Drawing on new models of Celtic masculinity, particularly the liminal and transgressive figure of the bard, the project aims to determine the origins and development of this trope throughout the Middle Ages. It considers the participation of the professional bardic class and the role of gender in cultural myth-making and collective nostalgia for an idealized past 'golden age', as well as the influence of greater Classical and European trends. We are proud to be able to offer our assistance to a project that is interesting and well-articulated, but the progression of which struggles for lack of proper institutional support.

The Literary Encyclopedia Research Travel Award 2019-2020

In 2020 the Literary Encyclopedia Scholarship Fund awarded 5 travel bursaries. Despite the disruptions caused by COVID-19, and the uncertainty in planning research trips, we were pleased to have received very strong and compelling applications, and extended the travel deadline for this year's award until the end of 2021. The five awarded projects were the following:

First place - £750 each

  • Julie Gay, Teaching Assistant, University of Poitiers - Mapping R. L. Stevenson’s Travels, at the Crossroads of Reality and Fiction
    This post-doctoral project aims to explore the potential of digital humanities, by creating an interactive map of Stevenson’s travels around the world, in order to better understand his life and the way it interacts with his fiction. The map would superimpose the itinerary of his actual travels with some of his characters’ trajectories; such a visualisation tool might help analyse the spatiality of Stevenson’s writing, and understand the way space and spatial movement shape the very form of the narrative. Such a dual approach might also foster a contrastive analysis of the relationship between travel writing and fiction, Stevenson having often been simultaneously occupied with fictional as well as non-fictional writings during his voyages, in particular when travelling across the Pacific. The creation of such an interactive map would serve to visualise and popularise Stevenson’s travels and works, which have gained increased attention in recent years through the development of literary tourism. It could also include extracts from his works, both fictional and non-fictional, as well as pictures, drawings and maps, thus creating a highly interactive and attractive learning and studying tool.
  • Zachary Perdieu, PhD candidate, University of Georgia - Pilgrim Shadow: Pursuing Utopia in the Fictional American Small Town
    This project examines the role and impact of the fictional small town as a utopic space in 20th century American literature. In mapping the similarities between utopic and small-town literature, this project forwards the fictional small town as the definitive utopic/dystopic space of American literature and presents these spaces as evidence of an ongoing, fruitless search for the American Utopia that was promised. Through literary and historical analysis of fictional small towns in the work of authors like Toni Morrison, Willa Cather, Ernest Gaines, Larry McMurtry, and Louise Erdrich, the project maps the geographic, cultural, and social shape of these communities in order to understand how various populations navigate and are manipulated by these spaces. By thus establishing these spaces in both their own figural-imaginary geography and place in America, this project will also act as a cultural history of the literary cartography of small town, USA in the 20th century. Once mapped, this project will examine the race, gender, socio-economic, cultural, and sexual politics that unfold in these communities and serve as an important contribution to a rich but underdeveloped field of American literary studies. This project will act as both an historical survey of the fictional American small town and an introduction to innovations in adapting utopian theory to analyze literary community building.

Second place - £500 each

  • Mary Bateman, PhD student/ Associate Lecturer, University of Bristol - Printing the “British History” in Europe, 1508-1587
    This research project will be the first study of the earliest print editions of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain / Historia regum Britanniae (1136), printed between 1508 and 1587. Scholars agree that Geoffrey’s mythic portrayal of Britain’s past was central to the emergence of “British” identity. However, scholars disagree on its relevance from 1500. Some argue the Historia’s significance to Tudor imperial claims, while others claim it had grown irrelevant – especially in Europe. However, nobody has addressed the popularity of Geoffrey’s Historia with European printers: six European editions of the Historia were printed before the first insular print. This project examines the impact of these never before studied European editions, focusing on the motivations and approaches of the printers and editors themselves, the responses of their insular and European readers, and the impact that this dialogue had on subsequent editions, and on the formation of British identity throughout the sixteenth century. The project is expected to result in a monograph, Printing the British History in Europe in the Sixteenth Century; three conference papers; a conference, ‘British Myth in Europe (June 2022); and two journal articles (the first on Italian Arthurian genealogies in Ponticus Virunius’ 1508 edition of Geoffrey’s Historia; the second – directly supported by the travel award – a codicological study of the ownership history and marginalia contained in the eight surviving witnesses of Virunius’ 1508 Historia edition, the earliest version of Geoffrey’s Historia in print).
  • Alberto Gelmi, PhD candidate, CUNY Graduate Center - Theories of Prophecy as a Mediterranean Ars Rhetorica for the Middle Ages
    The project is part of a comparative doctoral exegesis that explores the notion of prophecy as a semiotic construct in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The central argument on which the research is based is that philosophical remarks on this topic offer useful insights in the domain of rhetoric and not just in epistemology, as scholarship has predominantly contended. First, a selection of relevant passages from Kindi, Ibn Sina, Maimonides, and Augustine show that conversations on prophecy imply a debate on the nature of the linguistic sign and its cultural situatedness. Second, this interest can be traced back to Plotinian Neoplatonism and its Mediterranean hybridizations. Lastly, these claims can be successfully exemplified in a selection of sermons and theoretical contributions by Bonaventure of Bagnoregio. This travel award will assist with locating and examining a number of crucial manuscripts, by Bagnoregio and others, contained in various cultural institutions in the Italian city of Assisi.
  • Julie Tanner, PhD candidate, Queen Mary, University of London - The Reflexive Moods of Contemporary Literature: The Process is the Story The proposed project is part of a larger doctoral research that comes as a continuation of previous MA work on Lydia Davis. Its main aim is to examine a significant collection of Lydia Davis papers at Columbia University, focusing on reflexivity and affect. Its central question is posed in the title: ‘How do we feel about metafiction?’. Self-reflexive styles of writing have been neglected in the affective turn and this focus on Lydia Davis’s novel, The End of the Story, seeks to show how self-conscious textual modes (including archives), while pulling focus to their status as texts, also draw attention to the reader’s affective experience. The project will look at the archive to trace the novel’s uniquely reflexive processes of composition alongside Davis’s personal editorial choices. Seeing the novel emerge via the archive will be transformative for this work because Davis’s novel is inherently archival; The End of the Story contains accounts of boxes of written material to be used in the novel itself. The research will also investigate how concepts of ‘relic’ and ‘archive’ sit alongside the marked contemporaneity of Davis’s work, exploring ways in which contemporary literature can be tested and mediated by the presence of archival material, and how the study of a living author corresponds with notions of the archive. Being able to research the manuscripts, notes, and letters in Lydia Davis’s archive is therefore a key part of this project, and also an exciting moment for various intersections of literary studies, given Davis’s far-reaching career in fiction, nonfiction, and translation.

The Literary Encyclopedia Research Travel Award 2018-2019

We are pleased to announce the results of the travel award competition for 2019 sponsored by The Literary Encyclopedia. We have decided to award five such grants this year, one in the value of £750 and four in the value of £500. The projects we have chosen are original, historically informed and potentially conducive to scholarship of significant impact; we are pleased to be able to extend our support to such valuable and inspiring work. The awarded projects are the following:

First place - £750

  • Troy Wellington-Smith, PhD candidate, University of California, Berkeley – Kierkegaard and the History of the Book and Reading in Golden Age Denmark
    This research is particularly interested in Kierkegaard’s relationship to the material book, both in terms of Kierkegaard’s personal library and in regard to Kierkegaard’s explicit interest in the printing process. The chief objective is to survey instances of indirect communication (in the form of typography and layout) and their intricate effects on Kierkegaard's readership. Although Kierkegaard wrote constantly of “hiin Enkelte, min Læser” [that single individual, my reader], little research has been done into his readership. The claim is often made that Kierkegaard’s pseudonymous writings were read primarily by highly educated men, while his signed upbuilding discourses were read by men of various levels of education and women (who were barred from attending the University of Copenhagen); one of the objectives of this project is to test this claim with a large sample of contemporary editions that have signatures in them, and which are housed in the the Royal Library of Denmark, the Søren Kierkegaard Centre and the library of the Institut for Informationsstudier on the University of Copenhagen.

Second place - £500 each

  • Tania Marlowe, PhD candidate, Monash University - “Those Literary Beings,” or, an Object-Oriented Approach to It-Narratives of the Long Eighteenth Century
    This project looks at an eighteenth-century genre of fiction in Britain called “it-narrative”, which refers to fictions featuring a non-human narrator. The genre has had a modest amount of literary scholarship dedicated to it, with the majority focussed on the influence of industrialisation and growing consumerism in eighteenth-century Britain on the development of the genre. This line of research aims to read a number of it-narratives selected from different periods of the genre’s lifetime, and consider the non-human narrators in terms of Object Oriented Ontological concepts such as “object withdrawal” and “symbiosis”. The underlying intention is to provide a comprehensive history of the relatively obscure, and under-read, genre, as well as a history and contextualisation via reviews and references in contemporary media.
  • Erica Moretti, Assistant Professor, State University of New York (SUNY) – The Best Weapon for Peace: Maria Montessori, Education, and Children’s Rights
    The research is part of a book project which argues that the cultivation of world peace was the primary motivation for Montessori's educational project. The study draws from theories of biopolitics, war-and-society studies, and the history of humanitarianism, as well as a broad range of unpublished archival material collected from numerous libraries and archives, all of which reposition Montessori’s work on peace from the margins to the centre of her philosophy. Specifically, the project seeks to study archives situated in Rome and the Vatican, namely private conversations between Montessori and intellectuals (i.e. neuropsychiatrists Sante de Sanctis and Giuseppe Ferruccio Montesano) who educated the mentally delayed, as well as Montessori’s unpublished documents and her lectures and reports on her physiology and pedagogical anthropology classes. Together, these documents will provide a deeper understanding of her work in psychiatry and cognitive psychology, contextualizing her initial conception of mental hygiene and education with her subsequent commitments to global pacifism.
  • Sophie Schweiger, PhD candidate, University of Columbia - Gestures/Media: Constellations
    This project is the starting point of a broad inter-disciplinary study of body language and gestural communication and their respective role and function in different media. It seeks to examine how gestures are communicated, documented, quoted and iterated in text, in film, in theatrical performance, and in digital communication, and to study how they interact with any media they are embedded in. The doctoral project intends to investigate how gestural communication has been shaping and informing "old media" as well question what its role might be regarding future developments in human communication. The specific focus of this part of the research are theoretical and dramatic scripts from the early Enlightenment era in Germany, from Lessing, to Schiller and Goethe, who cultivate and make use of gestural communication in their dramatic texts (for instance in the form of stage instructions). These are relevant insofar they show how the idea of a "literarized" theatre entails a strong corporeal component, how the cultivation of language and the disciplining of the body go hand in hand, and how this sensual component is inextricably linked to the Enlightenment movement, especially in its radical - and lastly successful - realization.
  • Willow White, PhD candidate, McGill University - The Benefit Plays of Catherine Clive
    This research project on underrepresented women playwrights of the eighteenth century focuses on the celebrated This research project on underrepresented women playwrights of the eighteenth century focuses on the celebrated Irish comedian Catherine (Kitty) Clive and her benefit plays staged in London in the 1750s and ’60s. During this period of her acting career, Clive wrote and performed in four burlesque-style benefit plays—an eighteenth-century theatre practice in which the performer or playwright received proceeds from the production. While Felicity Nussbaum has written about Clive’s cultural influence as a celebrity and Berta Joncus has a forthcoming monograph about Clive’s contributions to ballad opera, Clive’s role as a playwright remains ignored by scholarly criticism. This study seeks to rectify this scholarly omission by examining Clive’s unpublished plays, housed at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California.

The Literary Encyclopedia Research Travel Award 2017-2018

We are pleased to announce the results of the travel award competition for 2017-2018 sponsored by The Literary Encyclopedia. Due to the royalties generously donated by our contributors and editors to our Scholarship Fund we have been able to award five such grants this year, two in the value of £750 and three in the value of £500. The projects we have chosen are original, historically informed and timely, showing real insight and deep understanding of the matters they explore; we are very pleased to be able to extend our support to such a wide range of valuable and inspiring work. The five awarded projects are the following:

First place - £750 each

  • Elizaveta Lyulekina, PhD candidate, The Graduate Center, CUNY– “Qu’un aultre aye le prys de mon labeur:” Maurice Scève’s neglected contribution to the development of French Renaissance poetry
    This research will contribute to a re-evaluation of the status of Maurice Scève in the literary tradition of the French Renaissance. He is often viewed as an author of a single book and has the reputation of an isolated poet famous for his obscurity and disinterest in public life. However, a large number of dedications to Scève composed by contemporary poets and humanists illustrates his prominent status in literary circles; moreover, Scève’s minor works such as translations, encomiastic poems, epitaphs, and epigrams, remain widely unexplored by Renaissance scholars, although they occupy a significant place in his poetic oeuvre, reflect his direct involvement in cultural and political events of the period, and attest that he tried his hand in all poetic genres that would become popular in the second half of the sixteenth century. The project seeks to examine these works as well as contemporary texts addressed to the poet in order to bring a more comprehensive understanding of his role in the development of French Renaissance poetry. Consulting different versions and re-editions of this texts is crucial for the development of this project (particularly in terms of identifying textual variants, compositional changes, added or omitted poems, and consulting marginal notes), hence the need for extensive travel in France, namely to the Bibliothèque nationale in Paris and the Bibliothèque municipale in Lyon.
  • Kelly Hunnings, PhD candidate, University of New Mexico – Ireland and the Laboring-Class Poetic Tradition: Tracing the Chaotic Domestic in Mary Barber’s Verse
    This doctoral project looks at how the poetry of women laboring-class Irish, Scottish, and English poets of the eighteenth century talk to and with one another across national borders, and in doing so challenge our conceptions of literary networks and laboring-class women writers broadly. I argue for the shared use of what I term as a “chaotic domestic” to describe an image of the domestic that is turbulent, unruly, and one that mirrors what is happening outside of the home within nature. The primary methodological approach for this research project is close textual analysis of primary source materials, including memoirs, novels, poems, articles, and public records at Trinity College Dublin and the National Library of Ireland. These texts are crucial for decoding the limits and possibilities of an Irish laboring-class poetic tradition. I will conduct archival research on cultural ephemera to historically contextualize the discourses of eighteenth century Irish nationhood as a socio-cultural construct prevalent in popular discourses that Barber comments on. Finally, I will use the theoretical frameworks of literary networks and gender studies to formulate my interpretation of these texts in connection with other laboring-lass women writers, building on Deborah Kennedy’s idea that literary relationships between disempowered writers are built “not from blood, but from ink.”

Second place - £500 each

  • Fraser Riddell, PhD candidate, Durham University – Lafcadio Hearn and Tactile Sensory Perception: Encountering the Non-Western Sensorium
    Lafcadio Hearn is widely considered one of the most important Western writers on Japanese culture in the nineteenth century. Research on Hearn will form an integral part of this post-doctoral project on tactile sensory perception in Victorian literature and culture. The Library of Congress holds the most extensive collection of ‘Hearniana’ outside of Japan, including unpublished correspondence with a number of Hearn’s most important interlocutors on issues relating to physiology, sensory perception and the body. This research responds to an emergent interest in Victorian studies in issues relating to sensory perception. Research at the Library of Congress will make an invaluable contribution to an article examining the significance of tactile perception in non-Western cultures in writings by Lafcadio Hearn and Robert Louis Stevenson. Such work will ultimately form part of a monograph that explores tactile perception in Victorian culture more generally, encompassing studies of texts by the Brontës, Thomas Hardy, H. G. Wells, and others. The monograph will be the first of its kind to theorise ideas of tactility, hapticity and literary style both in the light of Victorian science and contemporary critical theory. This research will also inform a planned critical edition of Hearn’s stories and essays for Broadview Press (co-edited with Nicoletta Asciuto, York University). This will represent the first scholarly edition of Hearn’s works to present a representative range of his writings, including selections of his journalism on Creole culture in New Orleans, ghost stories from China and Japan, crime reporting in Cincinatti, and his translations of works by Flaubert and Maupassant.
  • Sidonia Serafini, PhD candidate, University of Georgia - Black, White, and Native: The Multicultural, Multiracial, Multinational Print Space of The Southern Workman
    With the digitization of nineteenth-century and twentieth-century periodicals, contemporary readers and scholars have been given access to material that disrupts accepted racial categorizations of certain periodical publications. One of these platforms is The Southern Workman (1872-1939), published by Hampton Institute, one of America’s first historically black industrial schools and boarding schools for American Indians. Because it was edited and vetted by Hampton’s white administration who published pieces by mostly white contributors, The Southern Workman is typically considered a racially homogenous print space. It is, however, much more complex. Since its inception, the periodical was materially produced by black and Native students. By the turn of the twentieth century, it evolved from a predominantly white platform to one that crossed racial, cultural, and national boundaries and featured writing from some of the most well-known figures in African American and North American Indigenous literature and politics. This project will result in the first longitudinal study published on The Southern Workman. Building upon Frances Smith Foster’s interrogations of the racial categorization of American periodicals and Eric Gardner’s examinations of the periodical press as an “unexpected” print space wherein African American literature took shape, this project brings under scrutiny the notion that The Southern Workman is a racially, culturally, and nationally monolithic platform. Examining the records held at Hampton University in Hampton, VA, where The Southern Workman archives are held, will allow me to construct a detailed chronicle of this unique multicultural, multiracial, multinational publication.
  • Marjan Moosavi, PhD candidate, University of Toronto - Socio-cultural Interventionist Theatre in Iran: Themes and Aesthetics
    This research project examines the way socio-cultural interventionist theatre in Iran functions as a counter-conduct to the dominant forces of religion, norms of the community and politicized emotion. Bridging recent scholarship in various fields, including body studies, religious studies, emotion studies, and semiotics and contextualizing them allows me to design a localized critical and analytical methodology that is accountable to the study of theatre in Muslim Middle Eastern countries. My research on the Iranian theatre by artists in Iran and in diaspora, as well as my role as a Regional Managing Editor for, which is the biggest global theatre news website, involves conducting extensive archival research through travelling to Iran, interviewing artists, attending the performances, visiting theatre archives, as well as translating from Persian, Arabic and Kurdish into English.

We would also like to mention here a few other projects which we shortlisted, and which we believe to be in their early stages, but showing a lot of promise. We regret that we are unable to fund them this year, but we would strongly recommend these candidates to consider making another application to us in the coming years.

  • Julian Dean, PhD candidate, Notre Dame University – Yeats’ Celtic Mysteries: Decolonization and the Occult
  • Ryan Lawrence, PhD candidate and LE Contributor, Cornell University - John Clanvowe’s The Two Ways in the context of Oxford, University College MS 97
  • Eleanor Bloomfield, PhD candidate and LE Contributor, University of Auckland - York Evolving: Change and Permanence in the York Mystery Play Cycle

The Literary Encyclopedia Research Travel Award 2016-2017

We are pleased to announce the results of the travel award competition for 2016-2017 sponsored by The Literary Encyclopedia. This year we have decided to offer this award to four rather than just two/three early career researchers because the royalties generously donated by our contributors and editors to our Scholarship Fund made this possible. The projects we have chosen are original, historically informed and timely, showing real insight and deep understanding of the matters they explore; it is exhilarating to be able to extend our support to such a wide range of valuable and inspiring work. The four awarded projects are the following:

  • Eleanor Careless, PhD candidate, University of Sussex – “Charged with Terrorism: Gender and Political Violence in the Poetry of Anna Mendelssohn”
    This research project will be 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 “terrorist” 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 Song – 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 Lundt, PhD candidate, University College London – “Literature and Law in Anglo-Saxon England”
    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 Arnamagnæan 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
  • Alexandra Parsons, PhD candidate, University College London - “Derek Jarman and Life Writing”
    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.

We would like to thank and congratulate all applicants, whose projects were strong, interesting and certainly deserving of funding. We can only hope that our scholarship fund will grow and that we will be able to offer more such grants in the future.

The Literary Encyclopedia Research Travel Award 2015-2016

We are pleased to announce the results of the Research Travel Award competition for 2015-2016 sponsored by The Literary Encyclopedia. The range, depth and innovative potential of the applications made the final choice difficult. In the end, the editorial board has decided to award three travel grants instead of the two initially advertised. While our decision was made strictly on the intellectual merits of the projects submitted and the quality of the applicants’ written work and academic references, we were very pleased in an outcome which displays the intellectual vigour and diversity of our profession today.

The awards go to Spenser Tricker, University of Miami, and Andrew Keener, Northwestern University. The third grant we are awarding to Anne Royston, Utah University, in memory of our longstanding collaborator and friend, Professor Gerhard Knapp, who died in autumn of 2015. Gerhard Knapp edited the German literature and culture volume of the Encyclopedia from its earliest days, and oversaw the publication of over 500 articles during this time, including many on continental philosophy.

We would like to thank and congratulate all shortlisted applicants, whose projects were strong, interesting and certainly deserving of funding. We can only hope that our scholarship fund will grow and that we will be able to offer more such grants in the future.

The six shortlisted projects were as follows:

  • Natalie Berkman, PhD candidate, Princeton University – “OuLiPo Archive Transcription Project”
    This is an ongoing project involving the digitization of the archival documents related to the OuLiPo movement in France. Building on the new transcription process started last year, the next phase of the project will involve the TEI conversions of the documents, a laborious and time-consuming process, which requires precise and careful archival work. The research is poised at the intersection of mathematics (particularly set theory and algorithms) and literature, and its ultimate aim is to create a searchable, online database, which will lead to more innovative interdisciplinary scholarship.
  • Isabelle Gribomont, PhD candidate, University of St Andrews – “Literariness in Subcomandante Marcos’ Zapatista Discourse”
    This project focuses on the literary aspect of the Zapatista movement, which was born and primarily put into practice by Indigenous communities in Chiapas, Mexico. It aims to uncover how Marcos’ communiqués have been read and received, and how his figure is perceived in and outside of the movement. The project stands at the crossroads between literary, cultural, political and linguistic studies: the author plans to spend four weeks in Chiapas in a Zapatista community as a peace witness, and another two weeks in the Zapatista Rebel Autonomous Spanish and Maya Languages Centre, to follow Tsotsil classes. This stay will allow her to develop those intercultural aspects of the research which are key to a novel interpretation of Subcomandate Marcos’ literary and political legacy.
  • Sophie Hardach, writer, PhD candidate, Goldsmiths, London – “Art, memort and narrative in 20th-century Germany”
    This project examines the intersections of art and narrative in the context of Germany's 20th-century dictatorships: the Nazi regime and the GDR. This particular stage of the research will examine the membership files of the Nazis' chamber of the arts, housed at the Landesarchiv (state archive) in Berlin. Most of them have not been evaluated, yet they show the range of strategies used by artists under the Nazi regime. They contain letters, photos of paintings, receipts for art materials, demands for the return of confiscated paintings, denunciations of fellow artists, and many other everyday textual and visual documents, and thus form a unique panorama of the lives of many ordinary artists under the Nazi regime. These compromises and betrayals would come to influence the role of artists in Germany for the rest of the 20th century.
  • Andrew Keener, PhD candidate, Northwestern University - “Theaters of Translation: Cosmopolitan Vernaculars in Shakespeare’s England”
    The proposed 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.
  • 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.

The Literary Encyclopedia Travel Award 2014-2015

We are pleased to announce the results of the first travel award competition sponsored by The Literary Encyclopedia. The competition was quite intense, as we received over 45 applications. The six shortlisted candidates were the following:

  • Dr. Elizabeth English, Cardiff Metropolitan University - ‘“She worships H.E.”: The Sacred, the Secular, and the Sexological in Katharine Burdekin’s Utopian Narratives’
    This project explores the interdependence of spirituality and sexuality in Burdekin’s work. More specifically, it examines the way that Burdekin melds together the discourse of sexual science with a diverse range of religious practices to produce an idiosyncratic, but not always unproblematic, vision of the future of sexuality.
  • Sophie Hardach, writer, PhD candidate, Goldsmiths, University of London – ‘Art forgery and creative legacy in the context of Nazi-persecuted artists’
    This project addresses the question of how do art forgeries affect our interpretation of an artist's creative legacy by analysing two recent cases in which German forgers targeted Nazi-persecuted artists. In both cases, the forgers exploited creative and biographical gaps left by Nazi persecution to produce convincing forgeries, and crucially, convincing provenances. Hardach’s thesis seeks to analyse the paintings as a form of narrative that at times reflects, at times contradicts, overwrites or erases the original artists' experiences. The creative part of her thesis explores these narratives in the form of a novel about art forgery.
  • 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.
  • Dr. Anne Markey, Trinity College Dublin, 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.
  • Dr. Hayler Rabanal, Lecturer, University of Sheffield - ‘(Dis)affection: the Spanish ‘Sheik Romance’ of the 1940s and 1950s and Discourses of Hispano-Moroccan Convivencia’
    This project proposes to re-read novels written from within what may be called the ‘Sheik romance’ genre, emerging particularly in the 1940s and 1950s, as negotiations of masculine authority and encounters with the historical Moorish ‘other’ in the context of the memory of Moroccan participation in the Civil War and Spanish colonialism in North Africa. It aims to explore the construction of cultural, racial and religious difference in the novels and their interplay with popular and official discourses on Hispano-Moroccan/Arab identity and convivencia circulating since the late 19th century but strategically redeployed by the Franco regime.
  • Shauna O’Brien, PhD candidate, Trinity College Dublin – ‘Persian Shakespeares: Between the Global, the Local, and the Exilic’
    Shauna’s project explores the adaptation of Shakespeare’s plays in the Persian-speaking contexts of Iran and Afghanistan. It examines how Shakespeare’s canonical status on the one hand, and the politically and culturally specific conditions in Iran and Afghanistan on the other, have worked together to give rise to a fascinating tradition of Persian Shakespeare theatre. The thesis aims to show how adaptations of Shakespeare, by virtue of their relative frequency and repetition, can offer an invaluable reference point from which these variations can be studied.

The awards went to Robert Imes, University of Saskatchevan, and Dr Anne Markey, Trinity College Dublin. We made our decision strictly on the merits of the projects submitted and, while both happen to be focused on English writing, we hope that across the next few years the quality and nature of the applications will enable us to fund work in different periods and involving different geographies. We would like to thank and congratulate all shortlisted applicants, whose projects were strong, interesting and certainly deserving of funding. We can only hope that our scholarship fund will grow and that we will be able to offer more such grants in the future.

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