This scholarship is being offered as part of Associate Professor Sarah Ross’s Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Funded project on “Woe is Me: Women and Complaint in Renaissance England”. The scholarship is open to both New Zealand and Australian applicants.
The project examines English Renaissance women’s engagement with complaint, a powerful and ubiquitous rhetorical more that voices erotic, religious, and political protest and loss. In texts from Spenser’s Complaints to Shakespeare’s play A Lover’s Complaint, this literature foregrounds the voices and bodies of lamenting women, who rail against fickle lovers, harsh deities, or unfavourable times. In the foundational literature on complaint, however, the mode is largely understood as male-authored, an act of literary ventriloquy. Scholars have no collective sense of how Renaissance women writers uses this culturally central mode.
To tackle this lacuna, this Marsden project brings together an internationally recognised research team: Sarah Ross at Victoria University of Wellington; Professor Rosalind Smith at the University of Newcastle, Australia; and Professor Michelle O’Callaghan at the University of Reading. Together, the team is undertaking the first comprehensive interrogation of Renaissance women’s engagement with complaint as writers, readers, patrons, collaborators, editors, and performers. Exploring elite literary texts alongside religious works, gallows confessions, popular ballads and songs, and examining printed works alongside manuscript literatures, the project is producing a new account of how the voices of the disempowered, railing against their circumstances, helped to shaped the literary and social cultures of the English Renaissance.
Applications are invited for MA theses that would benefit from being conducted within this project team environment. Possible focuses include early modern poetry of complaint (amorous, religious, political), poetic forms (sonnets, dialogues, meditations), religious or political prose forms, print or manuscript literatures, and/or categories of female and male authorship.
Students who apply for this scholarship should have a First-Class Honours degree in English Literature. They should also demonstrate a strong background in early modern studies, and outstanding research potential.
Applications close 1 November 2018.
For further information and to apply, please visit the Victoria University of Wellington website.