Arts & Sciences

English professor receives prestigious National Endowment for the Humanities award

Dr. Sarah Wadsworth, professor of English in the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences and director of Marquette University Press, has been awarded a prestigious summer stipend award from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Nominees must be selected from their institution prior to submission to NEH and fewer than 100 summer stipends are awarded annually to humanities scholars.

The stipend will support Wadsworth’s work on her new book project, “In Deepest Sympathy: An Anthology of Letters from the Nineteenth Century.” The book will compile an anthology of 19th-century letters informing of or responding to news of death.

The 19th century has been called the “age of the beautiful death,” owing partly to its public rituals, yet private letters reveal deeply personal, heartfelt responses to this intensely private universal experience. These letters speak eloquently to readers today, when deaths have been distanced, sanitized, aggregated and personalized.

Nineteenth-century correspondents wrote about death directly, deliberately and from emotional and philosophical perspectives that express their struggle to comprehend the unfathomable and bridge the isolation of deepest grief. The volume will include writers whose facility with language and habits of reflection infuse their letters with authenticity, insight, and verbal clarity in the utmost distress of the moment.