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  • The Rutledge Prize 2016For Graduate Students Giving Papers at the SCLA Conference
  • Harry C. Rutledge (bio)

Each year the SCLA offers a prize of $500 for the most promising work presented at its annual conference by a graduate student. The essay is also considered for publication in The Comparatist.

You may submit a paper for consideration for this award by sending it as an email attachment to the SCLA vice president. The deadline for submissions is January 15, 2018 with the prizewinner to be announced in the 2018 issue of The Comparatist. Send to: Prof. Brian O'Keeffe,

Since conference papers are often shortened from longer projects, students are encouraged to submit an essay-length version of their work that would be suitable for journal publication (no longer than 7,500 words). If publishable, prize essays normally appear in the next issue after the official announcement (i.e., a year and a half after the conference presentation), thus allowing ample time for feedback and advice from the editor.

Rutledge Prize Winner 2016

Kathleen Hines, Southern Methodist University "Contagious Metaphors: Liturgies of Early Modern Plague."

Judges' Citation

"Kathleen Hines's essay visits a time in England (from 1623 to 1633) when the plague was particularly rife. Such virulence, as she elegantly shows, could hardly be contained to the physical bodies of the victims—the plague infected the anxious minds and worshipful souls of the period, contaminating their language and their writing, invading the discourses of theology, literature, and politics. The plague made a metaphorical leap, she argues, from bodies to language. Specifically focusing on religious writing (sermons preached from the pulpit, tracts disseminated to the faithful), Hines analyses the way in which the plague served as a touch-stone for religious thought—a way to explain concepts of sin and divine punishment. Consider the wracked questions of the faithful: is the plague something [End Page 393] like God's Word made manifest, as if His (presumably negative) commentary on mankind literalized itself as marks on the plague-stricken bodies? Could greater faith ward off the pestilence? Is the plague a disaster visited by God on religious dissenters and the theologically unorthodox? Hines's deft exploration of the answers supplied by various preachers and men of the cloth gives the reader a vivid insight into the culture of early modern England. Her essay excellently demonstrates how metaphorically pervasive the idea of the plague was at that time, and, in so doing, she makes an important contribution to theoretical work on the discourse of contagion." [End Page 394]

Harry C. Rutledge

Harry C. Rutledge, Emeritus Professor of Classics at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and an internationally recognized classicist, was the guiding spirit behind the founding of the SCLA March 28–30, 1974. He served as President, Board Member, and Conference Coordinator, but is best remembered for his enthusiasm in encouraging comparative work of all kinds. He also helped inspire the founding of The Comparatist.



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