The University of Southampton has proudly announced that Professor of English, Emma Clery, has been awarded the prestigious Rose Mary Crashway Prize by the British Academy for 2018. The awarding committee unanimously selected Professor Clery’s book, Eighteen Hundred and Eleven: Poetry, Protest and Economic Crisis (Cambridge University Press, 2017) to receive the prize.
Professor Emma Clery is one of Southampton’s most prolific English academics, specialising in topics of the cultural history across the period of 1660-1830. Of this era, her expertise includes that of the writing of Jane Austen, women’s writing throughout the eighteenth century, print culture, Gothic writing, and literary engagements with economic debates – the latter of which fed into her interest for Eighteen Hundred and Eleven: Poetry, Protest and Economic Crisis.
This seminal publication selects the Romantic-era culture as a basis for a nuanced exploration into how poetry is used as a medium that’s able to articulate political protest. Professor Clery described Eighteen Hundred and Eleven: Poetry, Protest and Economic Crisis as a ‘study of Romantic-era literature with strong resonance for the present day’. She continued by commenting that ‘it aims to show the way a literary work can engage with and shape political realities in the aftermath of economic shock’. Her study engages in the historically hostile reception to the poem Eighteen Hundred and Eleven written by Anna Letitia Barbauld. In this poem, Barbauld sought to expose how Britain found itself in turmoil, prophesying the nation’s untimely collapse into ruins with the refusal to end the interminable war with France.
The revered woman of letters, Anna Letitia Barbauld, wrote a powerful verse prophecy that helped to change the course of the war against Napoleon. I explore the poem and the resulting controversy using techniques of narrative and reportage as well as critical analysis. I am thrilled and extremely honoured that the jury of the Rose Mary Crawshay Prize has judged the experiment a success.
Published in June 2017, Eighteen Hundred and Eleven: Poetry, Protest and Economic Crisis is now the recipient of the renowned Rose Mary Crawshay Prize. When speaking of Professor Clery’s work, the awarding body for the prize, the British Academy, stated that ‘it breaks new ground in fashioning an entirely original argumentative and literary-historical narrative form’. They also commended Professor Clery’s work for being a “model of how transformational a feminist resistance to the commonplaces of ‘women’s history’ (the usual narrative of silencing) can be”.
Established in 1888 by the British philanthropist Rose Mary Crawshay, the Prize has been awarded by the British Academy each year since 1916, recognising the finest work produced by a female scholar in the international field of English Literature. Among the list of previous winners, Professor Clery joins alongside Dame Hermione Lee and Dame Marina Warner as a highly commended and honoured female academic to receive the prize.
The ceremony’s set to take place in Central London later this month on the 25th of September, where Clery will officially receive her prize.