Peter De Bolla Wins Robert Lowry Patten Award

We congratulate Professor Peter de Bolla, who has won the annual Robert Lowry Patten Award, awarded by the journal SEL: Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 for the most outstanding recent contribution to British literary studies of the Restoration and Eighteenth Century.

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Photo by artle* | CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The award is for his book The Architecture of Concepts: The Historical Formation of Human Rights. Out of a huge field of 195 qualifying publications, the judges for the 2015 award selected Prof. de Bolla’s book, published by Fordham University Press, for its ‘highly nuanced history of the numerous contradictions and aporias built into the concept of ‘human rights’ and its ‘novel way of thinking about the very idea of a “concept” in the first place.’ The judges went on to say that ‘as a contribution to the discussion of human rights, the “rights of man,” and the whole analysis of “rights” and “the human,” de Bolla’s book is destined to be a major point of departure… De Bolla’s masterful, dazzling discussion of Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man is one of the many gems to be found in this important book.’

Read more in Martin Woessner’s review for the Los Angeles Review of Books.

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