At the annual members’ luncheon for the International Spenser Society at the MLA this year, Vice-President Tiffany Werth presented the MacCaffrey award for 2014-15. A transcript of her remarks follows:
In 2014-2015, over 80 essays and book chapters were published on Edmund Spenser. This year’s judges, Catherine Nicholson and Stephen Guy-Bray, are to be congratulated for being both voracious and sagacious readers of this ample crop of essays.
Their conclusion was unanimous: the best essay in Spenser Studies for the years 2014-2015 was by Thomas Ward, from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. His essay, titled, “Spenser’s Irish Hubbub” appeared in the fall, 2014 issue of ELH (81.3: 757-86). The judges have this to say about it:
Thomas Ward’s essay brings into its orbit a dazzling array of texts and themes, exposing the intricate interrelation of matters critics have tended to treat separately, such as the poetics of Spenserian marriage, the strangeness of Spenser’s language, the form of his stanzas, and the history of his career in Ireland. Ranging in method from philology to anthropology and back again, “Spenser’s Irish Hubbub” has an antic originality befitting its subject. It is also marvelously well-written.
Professor Ward, we are delighted to award you the Isabel MacCaffrey Prize in recognition of the best article in Spenser Studies published in the years 2014 and 2015. We congratulate you on this important achievement and thank you for bringing such excellence to the study of Spenser.