Professor to receive major prize for book in French literary studies

December 02, 2009

Willa Z. Silverman, professor of French and Jewish studies in Penn State’s College of the Liberal Arts, will receive the 17th annual Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for French and Francophone Literary Studies given by The Modern Language Association of America for her book "The New Bibliopolis: French Book Collectors and the Culture of Print, 1880-1914," published by the University of Toronto Press.

The prize is awarded annually for an outstanding book in its field -- a literary or linguistic study, a critical edition of an important work, or a critical biography -- written by a member of the association. The Scaglione Prize for French and Francophone Literary Studies is one of 18 awards that will be presented on Dec. 28 during the association's annual convention, held this year in Philadelphia, Pa.
In the citation, the selection committee called Silverman's book "a riveting account of the culture of book collecting in Belle Epoque France. It provides a convincing exploration of the aesthetic and social functions of bibliophilia and its gendered contexts. The first study of its kind, it illuminates the cognitive, material and aesthetic dimensions of reading. Impeccably researched and convincingly argued, the book stresses the crucial role collectors played in the era's new ways of appropriating texts."
A specialist in late-19th-century French cultural, social and intellectual history, Silverman is the author of "The Notorious Life of Gyp: Right-Wing Anarchist in Fin-de-Siecle France" and an editor of "Confrontations: Politics and Aesthetics in Nineteenth-Century France." She has published numerous articles in journals, including 19th Century French Studies, Women in French Studies, and Book History.
Her research has been funded by National Endowment for the Humanities, American Philosophical Society and Bibliographical Society. From 1999 to 2003 she served as a member of the MLA's Nineteenth-Century French Literature division executive committee.


Last Updated January 09, 2015