The highlight of the conference is the awarding of the Edna Steeves Prize for Best Graduate Student Paper.
Graduate students should also know that NEASECS makes up to six awards from the John O'Neill Bursaries to assist with the costs of travel (grad students only).
To apply for either (or both) of these awards, contact the current conference chair Joe Bartolomeo, Associate Dean, College of Humanities and Fine Arts, University of Massachusetts) at
Fronticepiece to Tristram Shandy, 7th ed., at Glasgow University

Fronticepiece to Tristram Shandy, 1768 (7th ed.), Glasgow University

Edna Steeves Prize for Best Graduate Student Paper

The Edna Steeves Prize is an award of $500 for the best paper delivered by a graduate student at the Annual Meeting. This prize, established in 1994, honors the memory of the late Edna L. Steeves of the English Department at the University of Rhode Island, a founding member who served as Secretary-Treasurer of NEASECS from 1989 until her death in 1995. The winner of the prize is selected by an interdisciplinary committee appointed by the President of NEASECS. Rules for submission of papers for the prize are announced on the Annual Meeting web site and in the materials distributed for the Annual Meeting.

For NEASECS 16, submissions will be accepted until the end of the conference. The prize will be officially awarded during the NEASECS 17 banquet, and the winner will attend the conference registration-free. [The winner will be notified later in the fall when the decision is made.]

Michael Paulson of Columbia University is the winner of the 2013 Edna Steeves Prize for his paper "Exemplarity Reformed: From Exemplum to Case in Fielding's Amelia."  

The Prize Committee's description of Mr Paulson's paper was as follows: 

"Michael Paulson’s paper, “Exemplarity Reformed,” is an exemplary taxonomy of the generic feature of the “example,” ubiquitously present in eighteenth-century British literature.  Mr. Paulson links the efflorescence of the example to the period’s preoccupation with didacticism and to its empirical epistemology, which led the period to think of “example” in terms of experience (as an experimental space or case study), as well as in terms of exemplarity. Henry Fielding’s Amelia is used to illustrate the transition in the period from a moral conception of example to an experimental/experiential one. The argument is presented clearly, economically, and precisely. An illuminating presentation."

His dissertation project focuses on the division of narrative into cogent units of action and time in eighteenth-century British literature. Departing from an analysis of underexamined narrative forms--such as episode, incident, situation, scene, case, moment, and period--he explores fundamental tensions in the relationship between event and temporality in eighteenth-century narrative across genres including the romance, the novel, and history.  

Previous winners:

2012 Tali Zechory, Harvard University. “Nervous Encounters: Reflections on the convulsionnaires de Saint-Médard

Jacob Bodway, SUNY at Buffalo. “The Matter of the Moral Sense: Shaftesbury and the Rhetoric of Tact."

2010  Amy Mallory-Kani, SUNY at Albany. “Writing the Virtual: Vital Forces, Vibrations, and the Electricity of Affect in Sterne's A Sentimental Journey.”
2009  Michael Genovese, University of Virginia. "Organic Commerce and Georgic Violence."
2008 Nathan Gorelick, SUNY at Buffalo.  “Dreadful Excess of Corpses:  The Politics of Fiction in Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year.”
2007 Trevor Speller, SUNY at Buffalo. "The State of the ‘State of Nature’: Hobbes and the Abstraction of Leviathan."
2006 Emily King, Tufts University
2005 Emily Dolan, Cornell University. “Paint Splatters and Ocular Harpsichords, the Metaphor of Color in Musical Discourse.”
2004 Michelle Syba, Harvard University. “Reading Authorial Intention in A Tale of a Tub
2003 Brian Michael Norton, New York University
2002 Jessica Leiman, Yale University.  “‘My Devil Constantly fail’d me’: The Crisis of Masculinity in Richardson’s Pamela.”
2001 Marianne Tettlebaum, Cornell University.  “Kant’s Judgment of Music.”
2000 Robert Grossman, University of Virginia.  “The Travel Narrative as a Theory of Truth:  Johnson and the Empirical Imagination.”
1999 Elisabeth Ellington, Brandeis University
1998 Karen Odden
1997 Lisa Zunshine, University of California, Santa Barbara
1996 David Hayes

John H. O'Neill Bursaries

The John H. O'Neill Bursaries are awards of up to $500 to graduate students to assist them with the cost of travel to the Annual Meeting. In 2002 the Society voted to name these bursaries in honor of John H. O'Neill of the English department of Hamilton College, who has served as editor of the NEASECS Newsletter since 1989. Up to six awards per year may be made. The chairs of the Annual Meeting decide to whom the awards are made. Graduate students who are presenting papers at the Annual Meeting and wish to apply for John H. O'Neill Bursaries should send their inquiries to the Annual Meeting chairs.

For more information on the NEASECS Graduate Student Awards, contact: John O'Neill at

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