Notice of Online Archive

  • This page is no longer being updated and remains online for informational and historical purposes only. The information is accurate as of the last page update.

    For questions about page contents, contact the Communications Division.

After just one year at Lafayette, Marquis Scholar Suzanne Ryder (Pitman, N.J.) already is contributing to a major project that earned James Woolley, Smith Professor of English, a Guggenheim Fellowship.

As an EXCEL Scholar, Ryder is proofreading and transcribing various versions of Jonathan Swift’s poetic works as part of an effort to electronically archive the poems. The Swift Poems Project is a long-term collaboration between Woolley and John Irwin Fischer of Louisiana State University to produce 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.”

Says Ryder: “It’s an honor to be working with a professor and doing research while I’m still a first-year student.”

Woolley says that Ryder, the latest in about a dozen students who have assisted him on the Swift Poems Project, “has gained quite a familiarity with the conventions of 18th-century printing and publishing.”

“She can read the 18th-century page with great accuracy,” he says. “She has, by this point, looked at well over 100 poems in multiple versions, so that she’s gaining an awareness of how poems change and why they change in different versions.”

Ryder enjoys exploring various versions of the poems and gaining a greater understanding of the literary language of another era.

“It’s interesting to hunt for little, tiny mistakes that make a big difference to people who study Swift’s work,” she says, explaining that part of her work involves trying to identify which versions of the poems were changed by Swift himself, rather than changed through exogenous editing or typographical error.

Ryder’s sister Carrie ’00 and brother Steve ’01 were also Marquis Scholars, and her Lafayette history also includes her father, Henry Ryder ’68. Carrie graduated summa cum laude with honors in geology, basing her thesis on research conducted as an EXCEL Scholar in Nevada. Steven graduated summa cum laude with honors in mechanical engineering and received the Mechanical Engineering Faculty Award.

Ryder sings in the chorus and plays trumpet in pep band. During the upcoming school year she will live on the HAVEN residential floor, which includes students dedicated to substance-free living.

Categorized in: Academic News