Women’s poetry

Dr Sarah Prescott.

Dr Sarah Prescott.

02 February 2012

Aberystwyth University academic Dr Sarah Prescott has been awarded a Research Project Grant worth £248,395 by the Leverhulme Trust for a study of ‘Women’s Poetry 1400-1800 in English, Irish, Scots, Scots Gaelic and Welsh’.

Dr Prescott is a Reader at the Department of English and Creative Writing, and Director of the Centre for Women’s Writing and Literary Culture.

She will be working with fellow scholars at the University of Edinburgh, National University of Ireland, Galway and the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, Aberystwyth on the three year project.

The study will provide a major new literary history of women's poetry in Ireland, Scotland and Wales from 1400 to 1800, covering poetry in Welsh, Gaelic, Scots, Scots Gaelic and English through a fully edited anthology with translations and a critical study jointly written by the specialists engaged on the project.

“The last twenty years has seen an explosion of interest in pre-1800 British women's writing,” said Dr Prescott. “However, there is currently no comparative study of women’s poetry across linguistic and national boundaries in this period.”

“This is due primarily to the difficulty of finding a single scholar with the appropriate linguistic expertise and interest across the Anglophone, Irish, Scottish and Welsh contexts of women’s writing, but also a result of the disciplinary division between the study of Celtic and Anglophone cultures.”

“The primary aim of the project is thus to cross these linguistic and disciplinary boundaries to understand for the first time the ways in which women’s poetic production operated and survived in multiple geographical locations and comparative linguistic and cultural contexts,” she added.

The project will focus on two main areas: the building of an archive of women’s poetry, much of which will be unexplored or even undiscovered, and interpreting the works so they can be read by a wider audience. 

Dr Prescott’s main research interests are in eighteenth-century studies and include women’s poetry and fiction, Welsh writing in English, women's writing and Wales, authorship, feminist literary history and provincial literary cultures.

Her books include Eighteenth-Century Writing from Wales: Bards and Britons (University of Wales Press 2008, shortlisted for the 2009 Roland Mathias Prize for Welsh Writing in English), Women, Authorship, and Literary Culture, 1690-1740 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003) and Women and Poetry, 1660-1750 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003). Her latest volume, Writing Wales from the Renaissance to Romanticism (Ashgate), co-edited with Stewart Mottram, is due for publication in 2012.

The Leverhulme Trust
The Leverhulme Trust was established in 1925 under the Will of the first Viscount Leverhulme. It is one of the largest all-subject providers of research funding in the UK, distributing funds of some £60 million every year. For further information about the schemes that the Leverhulme Trust fund visit their website at www.leverhulme.ac.uk   www.twitter.com/LeverhulmeTrust