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Assistant professor of English wins $50K National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship

| By Nick Alexopulos
Melissa Girard Loyola University Maryland
Melissa Girard, Ph.D.

Melissa Girard, Ph.D., assistant professor of English at Loyola University Maryland, has been awarded a $50,400 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to fund her work on a book manuscript about the contributions 1920s and ’30s women poets made to modern poetry and the field of literary studies.

The fellowship covers a 12-month period beginning in June 2015. During that time, Girard will complete archival research and finish writing the manuscript before submitting it to an academic publisher. Once finished, Lines of Feeling: Modernist Women’s Poetry and the Problem of Sentimentality will provide readers with a comprehensive account of a time when women poets flourished, rivaling their male counterparts in the academy.

“I’m thrilled to be afforded this opportunity to reexamine the poetry and prose of Edna St. Vincent Millay, Elinor Wylie, and their peers,” said Girard. “This generation of women poets has been dismissed as ‘minor’ for far too long.”

Girard hopes her analysis of numerous unpublished and forgotten writings by women poets will illustrate how their fight to defend their reputation was central to the development of modernist poetry. In addition, she will explore how criticism of these poets by a cadre of academics in the 1930s laid the foundation for a newly professionalized discipline of literary studies.

Lines of Feeling is Girard’s first book. She is a scholar of modern poetry and poetics, 20th and 21st century American literature, gender studies, and history of literary criticism.

Girard’s fellowship is among 233 humanities grants in 11 categories, totaling $17.9 million, awarded by the NEH this year. The fellowships support higher education faculty and independent scholars pursuing advanced research and continue to be one of the most prestigious and competitive humanities awards in the country.

About NEH:
Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation.

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