Contact: Phyllis Shier, WSU College of Liberal Arts, 509-335-5671
WSU English Scholar Receives Two Prestigious Fellowships
PULLMAN, Wash.-Washington State University English professor Michael Hanly has been awarded two fellowships, one by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) and the other by the American Philosophical Society (APS) for the 2010-2011 academic year to complete his book "Poets of Peace, Poets of War." The book will examine European political and military ideology during the second half of the 14th century, with specific focus on the international collaboration between the artistic and political leaders who shaped events in Europe during the Hundred Years War.
Hanly argues that an international society known as the Order of the Passion influenced both the politics of the day, including the end of one war and the start of another, and served as a network of literary exchange. "This was the place where English and French poets first encountered the Italian literary texts that would serve as exemplars to poets in both countries," Hanly said. These literary alliances counteracted the great political divisions of the period and served as an essential agent of change, spreading westward the themes and texts of Italian humanism.
Hanly theorizes that Geoffrey Chaucer, England's famous medieval poet, is the most notable figure to benefit from the system of exchange. Early in his career Chaucer served as a diplomat, moving in the same circles as French envoys, several of whom were also writers. This network of literate courtiers helps explain how Chaucer got a hold of manuscripts by the great Trecento authors-Boccacio, Petrarch and Dante. Those Italian texts, Hanly believes, transformed the latter part of Chaucer's career and subsequently the history of European literature.
During his sabbatical, Hanly will complete his research in France and finish his book, dividing his time between two sites in Paris, the manuscript room at the Bibliothèque Nationale, and a CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) medieval research unit.
The ACLS is a preeminent representative of American scholarship in the humanities and related social sciences, granting more than $9 million in fellowship stipends in 2008. Since 1998, The APS, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, has awarded more than 220 fellowships in the humanities and social sciences to supplement sabbatical/research leave.
Professor Hanly joined WSU's English Department in 1991. He received a Fulbright Research Grant and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship that funded a yearlong stay in Paris in 1993-1994. His work was funded by another Fulbright Research Grant three years later. He is widely published, including two books prior to this current project, and has conducted research at several preeminent libraries around the world.