English professor wins international book award

Author: Arts and Letters


Kathryn Kerby-Fulton, the Notre Dame Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame, recently was awarded the John Ben Snow Prize from the North American Conference on British Studies for “Books Under Suspicion: Censorship and Tolerance of Revelatory Writing in Late Medieval England.”

Published last year by Notre Dame Press, “Books Under Suspicion” offers a sharply revisionist account of intellectual freedom in the 14th and 15th centuries and examines the censorship issues that propelled the major writers of the period toward their massive use of visionary genres.

The award citation states: “Through its superb scholarship, `Books Under Suspicion’ recasts our understanding of religious heterodoxy in late medieval England. Kathryn Kerby-Fulton challenges traditional historiography that privileges the radicalism of John Wycliffe and his followers. Instead, through close examination of visionary genres and texts, she establishes a significant, alternative intellectual history, one that shows a surprising degree of pluralism and tolerance for unorthodox thought…Kerby-Fulton’s scholarship is remarkable, her methodology often ingenious, particularly her use of reception history and codicology. This book rests on rich sources, both literary and theological, vernacular and Latin. It integrates Europe and England in new ways and shows a pluralist culture under constant negotiation and evolution.”

A member of the Notre Dame faculty since 2005, Kerby-Fulton was awarded a 2007-08 fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, for which she is working on a project titled “Medieval Reading Circles and the Rise of English Literature in England and Anglo-Ireland.”

Specializing in Middle English literature and related areas of medieval studies, Kerby-Fulton also is the author of “Reformist Apocalypticism and Piers Plowman” (which won the John Nicholas Brown Prize from the Medieval Academy of America in 1994), co-author of “Iconography and the Professional Reader,” and co-editor of three collections.

Kerby-Fulton has served as a visiting scholar at Princeton, Yale and Harvard Universities. Her research awards include 13 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) research grants, one SSHRC leave, and fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University and the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society at the University of Victoria, where she previously served as a faculty member. She earned her doctorate from the University of York in England.

Awarded annually, the John Ben Snow Prize recognizes the best book by a North American scholar in any field of British studies dealing with the period from the Middle Ages through the 18th century.

Contact: Kathryn Kerby-Fulton, 574-631-7372, kerby-fulton.1@nd.edu

Originally published by Shannon Chapla at newsinfo.nd.edu on November 26, 2007.