The highlight of the conference is the awarding of the Edna Steeves Prize for Best Graduate Student Paper.
Graduate students should also know that NEASECS makes up to six awards from the John O'Neill Bursaries to assist with the costs of travel (grad students only).

To apply for either (or both) of these awards, contact the current NEASECS President, Katherine Mannheimer,
Fronticepiece to Tristram Shandy, 7th ed., at Glasgow University

Fronticepiece to Tristram Shandy, 1768 (7th ed.), Glasgow University

Edna Steeves Prize for Best Graduate Student Paper

The Edna Steeves Prize is an award of $500 for the best paper delivered by a graduate student at the Annual Meeting. This prize, established in 1994, honors the memory of the late Edna L. Steeves of the English Department at the University of Rhode Island, a founding member who served as Secretary-Treasurer of NEASECS from 1989 until her death in 1995. The winner of the prize is selected by an interdisciplinary committee appointed by the President of NEASECS. Rules for submission of papers for the prize are announced on the Annual Meeting web site and in the materials distributed for the Annual Meeting.

The winner for 2018 is Kirsten Marten of Rutgers University for her paper "In Want of Keeping: Painting and the Sympathetic Imagination of Frankenstein"

This paper argues for the centrality of the term “keeping� to conceptions of novelistic sympathy in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. A painterly term that refers to an artist’s ability to distinguish between prominent and subordinate figures, keeping offers Shelley a model for aesthetically managed harmony. I engage with the term’s resonances with historically related terms, namely Hazlitt’s concept of gusto, to argue that Shelley employs keeping to elicit readerly sympathies. Because it is premised on a regulatory logic, keeping enables the novel to organize the relationships between various subjects—from characters to listeners to Shelley’s readers—so that each part becomes sympathetically legible. For example, while the Creature wants for keeping as Victor’s creation, the frame narratives regulate him so that readers can make him a sympathetic priority. In focusing on keeping, Martin situates Shelley in an aesthetic tradition that sees sympathy as a result of the artist’s own careful aesthetic management.

This year Allison Cardon, SUNY Buffalo, received Honorable Mention for her paper “Pamela’s Complaint: Injury, Rights, and the Politics of Story.”

Previous winners:

2017 Rathika Muthukumaran, Jesus College, Oxford. “Those Indian Wives… may do well to keep themselves in their own Countrey”: The Spatial Fantasies of Dryden’s Indian Women in Aureng-Zebe.”
2016 Nicholas Allred, Rutgers University. "American Waste: Analogies of Excess in Locke's Second Treatise"
2013 Michael Paulson, Columbia University. "Exemplarity Reformed: From Exemplum to Case in Fielding's Amelia."
2012 Tali Zechory, Harvard University. “Nervous Encounters: Reflections on the convulsionnaires de Saint-Médard

Jacob Bodway, SUNY at Buffalo. “The Matter of the Moral Sense: Shaftesbury and the Rhetoric of Tact."

2010  Amy Mallory-Kani, SUNY at Albany. “Writing the Virtual: Vital Forces, Vibrations, and the Electricity of Affect in Sterne's A Sentimental Journey.”
2009  Michael Genovese, University of Virginia. "Organic Commerce and Georgic Violence."
2008 Nathan Gorelick, SUNY at Buffalo.  “Dreadful Excess of Corpses:  The Politics of Fiction in Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year.”
2007 Trevor Speller, SUNY at Buffalo. "The State of the ‘State of Nature’: Hobbes and the Abstraction of Leviathan."
2006 Emily King, Tufts University
2005 Emily Dolan, Cornell University. “Paint Splatters and Ocular Harpsichords, the Metaphor of Color in Musical Discourse.”
2004 Michelle Syba, Harvard University. “Reading Authorial Intention in A Tale of a Tub
2003 Brian Michael Norton, New York University
2002 Jessica Leiman, Yale University.  “‘My Devil Constantly fail’d me’: The Crisis of Masculinity in Richardson’s Pamela.”
2001 Marianne Tettlebaum, Cornell University.  “Kant’s Judgment of Music.”
2000 Robert Grossman, University of Virginia.  “The Travel Narrative as a Theory of Truth:  Johnson and the Empirical Imagination.”
1999 Elisabeth Ellington, Brandeis University
1998 Karen Odden
1997 Lisa Zunshine, University of California, Santa Barbara
1996 David Hayes

John H. O'Neill Bursaries

The John H. O'Neill Bursaries are awards of up to $500 to graduate students to assist them with the cost of travel to the Annual Meeting. In 2002 the Society voted to name these bursaries in honor of John H. O'Neill of the English department of Hamilton College, who has served as editor of the NEASECS Newsletter since 1989. Up to six awards per year may be made. The chairs of the Annual Meeting decide to whom the awards are made. Graduate students who are presenting papers at the Annual Meeting and wish to apply for John H. O'Neill Bursaries should send their inquiries to the Annual Meeting chairs.

For more information on the NEASECS Graduate Student Awards, contact: John O'Neill at

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