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Annabel Williams

Merton student wins Modernist Studies Essay Prize

March 2017

Merton DPhil candidate Annabel Williams has been awarded the 2016 British Association for Modernist Studies (BAMS) Essay Prize, for her essay entitled "‘The pilot’s periplus’: Ezra Pound, Cyril Connolly, and the forms of Late Modernist travel".

Annabel, who will have her work published in the Edinburgh University Press journal Modernist Cultures, and will also recieve £250-worth of books, said:

"I am very excited that my BAMS prize essay will be published later this year.

"In the essay, I argue that unexamined connections between Ezra Pound and Cyril Connolly illuminate a remodelling of form in late modernist travel writing, in a period when the genre was threatened by wartime restrictions on movement.

"Specifically, I consider Connolly’s The Unquiet Grave (1944) and Ezra Pound’s The Pisan Cantos (1948), as kinds of ‘peripli’: the navigational charts of Greek antiquity that listed the ports and coastal landmarks that the captain of a vessel could expect to find along a shore. Like these charts, Connolly's and Pound's works are shaped by a subjective 'pilot's perspective'.

"The essay draws from my DPhil research into late modernist travel writing of the 1930s and 40s."

The BAMS Essay Prize is open to any member of the Association who is studying for a doctoral degree, or is within five years of receiving their doctoral award. Essays can be on any subject in modernist studies (including anthropology, art history, cultural studies, ethnography, film studies, history, literature, musicology, philosophy, sociology, urban studies, and visual culture).

Professor Jeff Wallace, the Chair of BAMS, commented:

"There were 19 entries for the 2016 prize and the standard was very high, with rigour and originality in evidence across the board."