Nigel Smith, the William and Annie S. Paton Foundation Professor of Ancient and Modern Literature at Princeton University was named Folger Institute Fellow for 2017-2018. The Fellowship is awarded through the National Endowment for the Humanities and its Grants for Fellowship Programs at Independent Research Institutions (FPIRI).
This critical and important program, administered by independent centers for advanced study, libraries, and museums in the United States, sponsors fellowships that provide scholars with research time, a stimulating intellectual environment, and access to resources that might otherwise not be available to them.
Nigel Smith is currently Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Books and Media at Princeton; previously he taught at the University of Oxford, England. His major work has been in the fields of seventeenth-century literary and historical studies: Marvell, Milton, British civil wars and revolution literature, radical and Dissenting culture. Smith’s NEH-Folger project, entitled “Polyglot Poetics: Transnational Early Modern Literature,” offers a major, field-changing study of the vernacular literatures of western, central and southern Europe from the late fifteenth to the late seventeenth centuries: a redefinition of the emergent area of transnational studies, and a recalibration of the literary relations of early modern Europe in order to integrate the crucial international staple of the Netherlands.
The project is concerned with the transit of poetry, prose fiction and drama, where transnational dissemination took place through diplomacy between regimes, exile, traveling theater companies, and war. The study shows how authors ‘felt’ the texture of literature in other languages even as they wrote in their own vernacular. In pursuit of these aims, Smith plans to explore the Folger’s unique and extensive collection of commonplace books, tracing instances of translation mingled with vernacular verse. Smith also plans to consult the Losely, Newdigate, and Strozzi manuscript collections.