The Literary Encyclopedia Research Travel Award 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 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.