The Literary Encyclopedia Prize Funds

Book Prizes

for major scholarly contributions to the understanding of literature

In December 2021 The Literary Encyclopedia will award two prizes, each worth £2000, one for scholarly contributions to our understanding of literature originally in the English language, the other for scholarly contributions to our understanding of literature originally in another language.

Eligibility

Works eligible for these prizes will be biographies, editions, or critical studies of literary writers, groups, works or periods. Volumes of essays by various hands will not be eligible.

The authors of submitted works must be engaged in research at an institution which subscribes to The Literary Encyclopedia or contributors of articles to The Literary Encyclopedia.

Funding

These prizes are funded by contributors to and editors of the Literary Encyclopedia who donate their royalties to our Scholarship Fund which also provides research travel grants to early career researchers. Please see https://www.litencyc.com/php/travel_award.php.

Process of Submission

The works submitted for consideration by the assessors for the 2021 prizes should have been published in 2018 or 2019.

Submissions for the prize should be sent to The Literary Encyclopedia by 30 th June 2021 and should comprise up to three endorsements of the submitted work by reputed scholars in the relevant field. These endorsements should be confidential (and sent from reviewers directly to us), and should specify the work’s significance and originality in less than 1500 words. Submissions may also be accompanied by copies of published or in-press reviews of the book in well-reputed scholarly journals or national media.

Assessors will review the submissions and prepare a long list which will be announced in early August. At this stage assessors may request an electronic copy of the full work. Such copies should not be sent in advance of this request.

A short list for each category will be announced in mid-October 2021 and the winners will be announced on December 1st 2021.

***Please direct correspondence about the prize to Dr Cristina Sandru, Managing Editor***

Research Travel Awards

Each year The Literary Encyclopedia offers 3-5 travel bursaries worth between £500 and £750 each to assist emerging scholars in defraying the costs of archival research on a literary or related matter. The award is sponsored by the generous donations of our contributors and editors to the Scholarship Fund set up by The Literary Encyclopedia. It is offered to an early career researchers or PhD students from an institution which subscribes to The Literary Encyclopedia OR a contributor to our publication.

Applications are considered by the Editorial Board of The Literary Encyclopedia whose decision is final. The money is paid on presentation of receipts. Successful applicants will be expected to write a formal report of their work to be published on our website. The contribution of the LE Travel Award should be acknowledged in any resulting publications from these awards.

In 2020 the Literary Encyclopedia Scholarship Fund has 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 have extended the travel deadline for this year's award until the end of 2021. The five awarded projects are the following:

£750

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.

£500

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.

Previous Years' Travel Awards Archive