Department of English

Professor Marjorie Curry Woods wins 2011-2012 Institute for Advanced Study fellowship

Mon, March 7, 2011

The Department of English congratulates Professor Marjorie Curry Woods on her acceptance into the Institute for Advanced Study’s School of Historical Studies for the 2011–2012 academic year. During her time at the IAS, Professor Woods will research the practice of assigning schoolboys to write speeches from the point of view of highly emotional female characters through the early modern era in Western Europe.

To explore the ramifications of these practices, which date back to classical antiquity, Professor Woods plans to analyze teachers’ notes in the margins of two widely taught classical texts, Virgil’s Aeneid and Statius’s Achilleid. Woods seeks to determine how female characters were studied, interpreted, sympathetically assimilated, and performed in all-male classrooms, which “will provide novel and surprising insights into the High Middle Ages, and elucidate more general issues of gender, emotions, creativity, rhetoric, and performance.”

Woods began to study this subject while she was working on another project, Classroom Commentaries: Teaching the Poetria nova across Medieval and Renaissance Europe (Ohio State University Press, 2010). She became fascinated with the tradition of teaching schoolboys to identify with the emotions of literary women and wrote several articles examining some of the psychological aspects of the gendered pedagogical tradition.

At the Institute for Advanced Study, a private, independent academic institution in Princeton, NJ, Woods hopes to incorporate into her research important manuscripts in the Princeton University Library, as well as to formulate and elaborate ideas through discussions and presentations with other fellows. The Institute for Advanced Study, which was founded in 1930, has hosted “some twenty-five Nobel Laureates and thirty-eight out of fifty-two Fields Medalists,” and its past faculty have included Albert Einstein, Kurt Gödel, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Erwin Panofsky.

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