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Release: Immediate

UI English professor wins prestigious NEH Fellowship

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Judith Pascoe, an assistant professor of English at the University of Iowa has emerged victorious in the stiff national competition for a coveted National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for the 1998-99 academic year.

Pascoe was awarded the fellowship in order to spend a year in London working on a book manuscript entitled "Romantic Acquisitions: The Culture of Collecting." She will examine a variety of different kinds of romantic-era collectors and collections -- including popular exhibitions, early museums, commonplace books, fossil collectors, royal bibliophiles -- and use the information as context to talk about characteristics of romantic poetry, her area of specialty.

Pascoe's book will also discuss 20th Century collectors of romantic-era archives, including Cedar Rapids businessman Luther Brewer who has amassed a huge collection of books and manuscripts of Leigh Hunt, which is now held in the UI Libraries' department of special collections.

"I'm fascinated with the way collectors of romantic books and manuscripts tend to fetishize the bodies of romantic poets so that, for instance, Keats's hair becomes a highly desirable item," Pascoe said.

Congressional cuts to the NEH budget have severely reduced the funds available for these fellowships in recent years, tightening an already competitive contest.

"In this fiercely competitive environment for scholars in the humanities, it is a testament to the strength of Professor Pascoe's scholarship to be awarded this prestigious fellowship," said Linda Maxson, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. "I am extremely proud of her success and of the national recognition she has brought to the University of Iowa and the College of Liberal Arts."

Pascoe earned her doctorate in English from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992 and has been an assistant professor of English at the UI since 1993. Her most recent book, Romantic Theatricality : Gender, Poetry, and Spectatorship, was published in 1997 by Cornell University Press. She is also the editor of The Collected Poems of Mary Robinson, which will be published next year by Broadview Press.