NEW YORK — The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) recently awarded Sarah Zimmerman, Ph.D., associate professor of English at Fordham University, a $40,000 fellowship to complete a book titled, Staging Instruction: The Romantic Public Lecture on Literature.
The book will chart the emergence of the public lecture from 1800-1820 and examine four prominent lecturers—Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Hazlitt, John Thelwall and Thomas Campbell—who “aimed to shape the literary taste of their largely middle and upper-middle class auditors, and through them, to define a national literary culture,” according to Zimmerman.
“I became fascinated by lectures when I found myself facing groups of between 150 and 400 freshmen,” said Zimmerman. “Once I understood how lectures worked, I realized that we have never fully understood Coleridge’s and Hazlitt’s lectures. We have read them as texts. My study aims to define an approach to them as performances.”
The ACLS, a private non-profit federation of 68 national scholarly organizations, is committed to advancing humanistic studies in all fields of learning in the humanities and social sciences. The centerpiece of this work is the ACLS fellowship program. During the 2004-05 academic year, the ACLS awarded nearly $4.8 million to 139 American scholars from 102 institutions.