Recipients of the Fredi Chiappelli Memorial Fellowship
Shane Black (Comparative Literature)
Shane’s project focuses on the reception of Latin epic poetry in the European medieval and early modern context, especially in the literature of English, Italian and Neo-Latin languages. Of primary importance to the dissertation project is what he calls the “Mercurial figure,” an allegorical character made possible through classical reception, who combines features unique to the epic messenger to stage the process of reception itself. The dissertation, Mercurial Speech: Intervention and Lies in Early Modern Receptions of the Epic Mercury, addresses the process by which pre-modern writers appropriate, allegorize, and iterate on ancient representations of the Mercurial figure. His work considers the implications of using the god of lies as a mouthpiece for both the highest religious authority and the author and he argues that the complex reception of the Mercurial figure gives rise to “Mercurial speech,” a discourse of authorship based on violence, lies, and improvisation, in which the instability of the author-figure is the primary feature of authorship. Ultimately, the simultaneous emergence of the discourses of Mercurial speech and humanism in the early modern period reveals that all political, religious, and literary authority in the modern world derives from the lie.
Campbell Garland (Art History)
Peter Weller (Art History)