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Genelle Gertz Awarded Fellowship from Folger Shakespeare Library

Genelle Gertz, associate professor of English and Writing Program director at Washington and Lee University, has received a short-term fellowship from the Folger Shakespeare Library to conduct research and write during the 2015-2016 academic year. The title of her fellowship is “What Happened to Women Mystics After 1534?”

Gertz will use this time to advance her research and writing on women mystics in pre-modern England. Building off of research conducted for her first book, “Heresy Trials and English Women Writers, 1400-1670” (2012), her focus will be on a largely undocumented disappearance of female mystics in the years between the Reformation and the English Civil War.

Gertz notes that prophecies and revelations by women played in an important role in England’s public religious life, with roots going as far back as the 14th century. During the period she will research, however, women mystics seemingly went silent, even in the communities of Catholics forced into secret practice or into exile by the Reformation.

“I am thrilled to receive this Folger fellowship,” said Gertz. “It affords me access to the Folger’s magnificent rare books collection and provides an extended opportunity to work with other scholars of the early modern period. It will kick-start my sabbatical by immersing me in research and expert discussion, processes foundational to the intense work of scholarship.”

The fellowship will provide Gertz with a supportive stipend and three months of access to the Folger Shakespeare Library’s extensive collection of rare and non-digitized texts on this period of English history. An internationally recognized research library located in Washington, D.C., the Folger offers advanced scholarly programs in the humanities and is the repository for the world’s largest Shakespeare collection.

Gertz joined Washington and Lee faculty in 2003. Her research is on Medieval and early modern women writers; the Reformation; republicanism and the English revolution; prophecy, mysticism and heresy trials; and the politics of reading.

She received her B.A. in English and philosophy from Wheaton College, her M.A. in English from the University of Pittsburgh and her M.A. and Ph.D. in English from Princeton.

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