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 TheTheatreTimes.com, 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