Alumna Sarah Stanbury ’71 Wins Guggenheim

Jun 23, 2010

Alumna Sarah Stanbury '71 has been awarded a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship for her ongoing work in medieval English literature

An English professor at the College of the Holy Cross, Stanbury's work examines what manmade objects in the work of Chaucer tell us about the people and period. Her research into this field follows on the heels of her 2008 book, The Visual Object of Desire in Late Medieval England, which considers the significance of religious images lost in the Reformation. In revisiting this theme, but with a focus on ordinary objects, Stanbury hopes to shed light on the more secular, or quotidian, aspects of the era.

"I'm fascinated by our attachments to objects," Stanbury says. "Are they ‘just things' or more than that? My Guggenheim project will focus on things of the household, asking what are the totemic powers of non-religious things? How did a newly monetized economy, with a concomitant increase in available goods of all kinds, contribute to a recalibration of material life?"

In addition to her 2008 book, Stanbury is the author of Pearl and Seeing the Gawain-Poet: Description and the Act of Perception, and is a co-author or editor of several others. For more on her work, click here.

The Guggenheim Fellowship, which this year was given to 217 individuals from nearly 3,500 applicants, is most often characterized as a "mid-career" award intended for men and women who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for scholarship or creative ability in the arts. Over the 86 years that the Guggenheims have been awarded, many Bennington alumni and faculty have earned distinctions as Fellows; this year, faculty member and visual artist Mary Lum was also named a Fellow. For more information about this year's Guggenheim winners, click here.