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James Woolley, Frank Lee and Edna M. Smith Professor of English at Lafayette, has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Woolley is one of 184 recipients selected by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation from more than 2,800 applicants in the United States and Canada for awards totaling $6,750,000.

“Guggenheim Fellows are appointed on the basis of distinguished achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishment,” said the foundation’s president, Joel Conarroe. “The new fellows include writers, painters, sculptors, photographers, film makers, choreographers, physical and biological scientists, social scientists, and scholars in the humanities.”

Woolley’s Guggenheim Fellowship was awarded for “The Textual History of Jonathan Swift’s Poems,” a project he will undertake in 2002-03 while on sabbatical leave from Lafayette. Swift (1667-1745), an Irish satirist well known for such prose works as Gulliver’s Travels and A Modest Proposal, also wrote more than 250 poems.

In Oxford’s Bodleian Library, the British Library in London, Yale’s Beinecke Library and other repositories, Woolley will examine 18th-century manuscript miscellanies, or poem anthologies, that he has identified as including poems by Swift. “In the process,” Woolley says, “I hope to discover important new stages in the composition, revision, textual transmission, and reception of Swift’s poems.”

Woolley’s research is part of the Swift Poems Project, a long-term effort in which he and John Irwin Fischer of Louisiana State University are producing a new critical edition of Swift’s poems. Woolley says the edition will “map each poem’s transmission through authorial manuscripts, manuscript copies taken by others, and printed texts in broadsides, pamphlets, newspapers, magazines, and miscellanies and other anthologies, as well as through the authorized collections of Swift’s works.”

Woolley edited Swift and Sheridan’s Dublin periodical The Intelligencer, published by Oxford University Press under the Clarendon Press imprint in 1992. Before that, his University of Chicago dissertation was designed as groundwork for a critical edition of Swift’s poems. It was published as Swift’s Later Poems: Studies in Circumstances and Texts in a series of outstanding dissertations chosen by Stephen Orgel for Garland Press (1988). With Fischer and Hermann J. Real of the Westfälische-Wilhelms University of Münster, Germany, Woolley was also co-editor of a collection of scholarly papers, Swift and His Contexts (AMS Press, 1989). Woolley’s recent publications on Swift deal with questions of annotation, printing, manuscript evidence, and authorship.

For the Swift Poems Project, Woolley has developed an inventory of printed and manuscript sources itemizing some 14,000 poem texts from Swift’s first publication (1691) through 1824, more than five times as many texts as were considered by previous editors of Swift’s poems. Woolley also administers the Swift Poems Project archive, which currently holds some 3,000 electronic transcripts.

Through Lafayette’s EXCEL Scholars program Woolley has engaged more than a dozen Lafayette students in the Swift Poems Project, including, currently, senior Erin Wyble of Wharton, N.J., and junior Brandt Siegel of Marysville, Ohio. Both are English majors and Marquis Scholars.

Philip Wingert of Bethlehem Pa., who graduated in 2001 with a bachelor of arts degree in English and a bachelor of science in chemical engineering, also assisted Woolley, transcribing poems from old editions.

“One of the greatest benefits of the project was that while I was transcribing, I got to read the poems in different variations and see how the old editors and publishers manipulated Swift’s work,” Wingert says. “It’s really fascinating. You can see evidence of how the English language has changed.

“Being able to do an EXCEL project in the English department was a tremendous opportunity,” he adds. “It was fun and broadening for me.”

Woolley calls the EXCEL program “a terrific benefit to faculty research.”

Woolley joined the Lafayette faculty in 1980. He teaches College Writing, English Literature II, and three courses in 18th-century English literature: The Age of Satire, 18th-Century Fiction, and London High and Low Life. He has won a summer faculty fellowship and numerous Lafayette research grants.

Lafayette has honored him with four major awards, the Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Faculty Lecture Award for excellence in teaching and scholarship (1990), the Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Award for superior teaching and scholarly contributions to his discipline (1991), the Student Government Superior Teaching Award (1994), and the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Award for excellence in teaching and outstanding contributions to campus life (1995).

He served four years as head of the Department of English (1993-1997). In 1996, he was designated Smith Professor of English. In 1997 he was elected Clerk of the Faculty, a post he currently holds.

Woolley holds master’s and doctoral degrees from Chicago and a bachelor of arts degree from Wake Forest University. He began full-time teaching at Marquette University in 1971. There he was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend for Younger Humanists to do research on Swift in British and Irish libraries. In 1974 he moved to the University of Pennsylvania, where he was awarded a Fellowship for Recent Ph.D. Recipients by the American Council of Learned Societies. He has also received grants from the American Philosophical Society.

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation was founded in 1925 by former U.S. Senator and Mrs. Simon Guggenheim, in memory of John Simon Guggenheim, a son, who died in 1922.

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