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UVa grad students awarded Battestin Fellowship for summer research

The Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia has awarded six graduate students with $3,500 Battestin Fellowships in the 11th round of the academic achievement award, according to a statement from the society on Monday.

Named after former UVa English professor Martin Battestin, who taught at the university from 1961 until his retirement in 1998, and his wife Ruthe, a literary scholar and former member of the society’s council, the fellowship aims to provide graduate students with financial support for summer research on bibliographical or textual projects in one of UVa’s 12 libraries.

This summer, Kaitlyn Airy Johnson will work on a project called “A Leap in Memory: Mapping the Manuscripts of Ruth Stone;” Isabel Rose Bielat plans to explore “Romantic Nationalism, Transnational Celebrity, and the Politics of Nineteenth-Century British Print;” Jared Willden will tackle “Political and Religious Framings of Catherine de Medici in the Discours Merveilleux: A Bibliographic Approach;” Sophia Sonam Zaklikowski will examine “Seeing Story & Selfhood in Commonplace Books;” Heather Alison Moody will create “A Digital Edition of Ratna Lingpa’s Works;” and Anne Laura Persons will spend the summer “Picturing the Underground Railroad: Engraving and Extraction in the 1879 Revised Edition of William Still’s “The Underground Railroad Records.”

As a first-year English graduate student, Willden said he is eager to dive into his fellowship project, which will analyze the “Discours merveilleux” of 1575, a polemical pamphlet that accused French Queen Catherine de Medici of heinous acts, including poisoning Jeanne d’Albret, the queen of Navarre, and orchestrating the Saint Bartholomew’s Day massacre of French Protestants.

“I will compare the ‘Discours merveilleux’ to other political and religious texts published in France from 1574-1575 that are in UVA’s Special Collections Library’s Gordon Collection,” Willden said. “The fellowship project will inform my current research on Catherine de Medici’s representation in the French monarchy’s court performances. I feel privileged to be studying at a university that not only excels in bibliographical study but also has such impressive holdings in sixteenth-century French texts.”

The three members of the Battestin Fellowship Selection Committee were UVa English professor and Director of the Rare Book School Michael F. Suarez, past-President of the Bibliographical Society of UVa G. Thomas Tanselle and society Council Member and former Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library curator David Whitesell.

Founded in 1947, the Bibliographical Society supports the study of books while opening itself to researchers from all over the world. The Bibliographical Society of UVa also publishes the Studies in Bibliography journal as well as books in printed and electronic form.


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