The Literary Encyclopedia Research Travel Award 2023 - Round One

We are pleased to announce the results of the first round of this year's Research Travel Awards. 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

Matthew Fogarty, Associate Lecturer, University of Maynooth, IrelandIdentity 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 GlasgowFrom 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.

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