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NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES

SAMPLE APPLICATION NARRATIVE

Summer Stipends British Literature

It is not intended to serve as a model. Modernist Literature & Culture Series. it does not include the résumé or letters of recommendation.html Project Title: Atlantic Modernism: Americanization and English Literature in the Early Twentieth Century Project Director: Genevieve Abravanel. the stage of the research.gov/whoweare/divisions/Research/index.National Endowment for the Humanities Division of Research Programs Excerpt from a Successful Application This excerpt from a summer stipends application is provided as an example of a funded proposal. depending on the requirements of the project. the resources required. and the situation of the applicant. It will give you a sense of how a successful application may be crafted. Every application is different. This sample includes only the narrative and the bibliography. Additional examples of funded applications can be found on the Division of Research section of the NEH website: http://www. Franklin and Marshall College Result: Americanizing Britain: The Rise of Modernism in the Age of the Entertainment Empire.neh. (Forthcoming) . Oxford University Press.

Leavis. commonly dubbed highbrow and lowbrow. modernist and twentieth-century studies have generally limited their scope to the migrations of expatriate writers and the transatlantic reception of their works. This oversight grows out of a long-standing disciplinary divide between modern British and American literary studies. its focus on imperial geographies has drawn scholarly attention away from the enormous impact of the United States on modern England.” I demonstrate how English anxieties over what Stuart Hall has called the Anglo-American “shift in fortunes” served to redefine the meaning of English literature by helping to produce the modern concepts of elite and popular culture. By placing English modernism in a transatlantic frame. In this conception. I argue in “Atlantic Modernism” how a perceived shift in power. Wyndham Lewis. I am able to counter the common critical insistence on the internationalism of modernism with a picture of how English modernism’s elitism. What were the effects of this transition from the height of imperial confidence to Jimmy’s bleak announcement? In “Atlantic Modernism: Americanization and English Literature in the Early Twentieth Century. Jimmy. Matthew Arnold notwithstanding. while eighteenth-century literary studies has begun to adopt a consciously transatlantic approach to interpretations of both English and American literature.In John Osborne’s landmark 1956 play. and English or British literature. came into general circulation during the early twentieth century. on the other. I consider how these American influences led some writers to transfer national pride from British imperial ideologies of progress to a newly English faith in elite arts.” the disillusioned English shopkeeper. leading to the conspicuous designation of the highbrow as English and the lowbrow as American. transforming it from an older notion of folk culture tied to ethnic and regional identities into a transatlantic formation. By examining the work of Nancy Cunard. “Look Back in Anger. and consequent fears that England might become Americanized. decried by Joseph Roach in 1993 as “the deeply ingrained division within English studies between American literature. at the beginning of the century. and F. While I am mindful that critics have recently examined the admixture of elite and popular elements in modernist literature. could only hope to emulate. Despite the great value of colonial inquiry.” For modern British literary studies in particular. literary education. Americanization followed from the influx of jazz. traditionalism. I suggest that the Americanization of . and gender differences.” Yet only a few decades earlier. Moreover. I want to focus on the development of the modern English concepts of high and low through the reactions against Americanization. While historians have documented this shift. and nationalism grew out of its reaction to America. among others. the United States. the deluge of mass forms from America sharply altered the meaning of the popular in modern England. the Hollywood film. I contend that some in England were beginning to identify popular and working-class culture with the United States. the empire on which the sun never set. I believe this stratification of taste also rests upon English concerns with Americanization. In contrast. and the bestseller list. and sociologist Giovanni Arrighi has identified it as the defining event of the twentieth century. these concepts of elite and popular culture. race. As an interwar term for the standardization or “leveling-down” of English culture. on the one hand. gave rise to the modern English concepts of elite and popular culture. literary critics have largely overlooked its importance. the development of postcolonial studies has sharpened this divide. announces that all of England is living “in the American Age” and that the American influence is so entrenched and pervasive that he wouldn’t be surprised if the new generation of English children turned out to “be Americans.R. many in Britain believed their nation to be the dominant world power. At the same time. and a progressive society which its former colony. While modernist scholars generally present the high-low cultural divide as the effect of class. and national tradition as protection against Americanization.

Eliot.” he presents a picture of a robust English past enabled by transatlantic continuity between England and colonial America. aspect of Eliot’s attempt to renew English culture arises from the intimate . jazz threatened organic English ties to cathedrals and Baedeker.appointed guardian. Nation. Elizabeth Bowen. it is a short step from the Ford motorcar to the American Book of the Month club. associated with the United States. F. It is an irony of the interwar years that an American. I suggest that an important. Yet in his late poem sequence.S. both stand for the democratizing threat of modernization that can only be resisted by a return to what he dubs the “minority culture” of the English elite. I argue that Leavis constructed his influential ideology of Englishness by defining it against the mass culture of the United States. I move in my second chapter. including work by Rudyard Kipling. By the time of Huxley’s 1932 “Brave New World. the United States offered new models of globalization to the English imagination. With the formation of the League of Nations in the aftermath of World War One. Bloomsbury critic Clive Bell responds to the arrival of jazz with the warning that the “traditional valuations” represented by such English high cultural icons as “Lycidas” and “Baedeker” would be lost to the jazz invasion. and Virginia Woolf. however. In his anti-jazz polemic. in his co-authored 1933 “Culture and Environment. The varied texts in this chapter share a sense that the political and economic rise of the United States may threaten not only British political dominance but also the eminence of English literature at home and abroad. “Ameritopias: Transatlantic Fictions of England’s Future. In this chapter.G.R. “Four Quartets. taking up Eliot’s call for innovation through continuity. and Cultural Value in Interwar English Literature. Leavis and the Americanization of Modern England.England not only created transatlantic exchange.” in which a futuristic England outlaws Shakespeare and deifies Henry Ford. and to produce English studies as a discipline. Leavis’s foundational efforts to forge a literary canon. Leavis. In “Make it Old: Inventing Englishness in ‘Four Quartets. became the most influential tastemaker in England. transnational form linked to black America. In my first chapter.’” I demonstrate that Eliot was able to produce such a compelling theory of culture because he both recognized the increasingly transatlantic character of modern England and devoted himself to repudiating America. “Jazz Valuations: Race. but more compellingly.” Most strikingly. I juxtapose the condemnatory. More surprising than Eliot’s didactic ambitions.” to one of the most controversial forms of popular culture to arrive in modern England.” Leavis produces a program for English school children that would educate them in Englishness not by exposing them to English writing. was the way that English writers and critics actually listened. From this overview. For Leavis. H. such as jazz and the movies.R. In “English by Example: F.” I look at a range of texts.” I move from mass culture to English high culture and its self. if largely undiscussed. an effort marked by his adoption of British citizenship in 1927.” in which a black American jazz musician placates a crowd of fusty English elites by telling them that he would “give all the jazz in the world for just one little stone from one of your cathedrals. it seemed that only a renewed attention to high culture could resist the impending Americanization of England.” as the cause of the “disintegration” of traditional culture in England. that imagine Americanized futures for England and the world. but by training them to repudiate forms of mass culture.” Eliot identifies American cultural hegemony. anti-jazz fervor of Bell and Wyndham Lewis with the more figurative representation of jazz as the disruption of English nationalism in the work of Waugh. literature and the land. helped to produce the ideological fields of high and low within which modernist writing emerged.” As a mobile. Wells. and Virginia Woolf. heralded by “the celluloid film. are marked by their resistance to what he calls “Americanisation. While his critics have largely overlooked the importance of his abundant references to America. T. Evelyn Waugh parodies such fears in his 1928 “Decline and Fall. In his 1948 “Notes towards the Definition of Culture.

Atlantic studies. I have given two conference papers on separate sections of the chapter on jazz.way in which he negotiates the threat of Americanization. and Bryher. and Bell. including scholars of modernism. “Close Up” is best poised to illuminate these concerns through its ties to modernism and its interest in the fate of English cinema as an art form. This chapter will bring together the arguments put forward in the previous chapters as film criticism both dealt with the most popular medium of the interwar years and attempted to distinguish art from entertainment. cultural studies. And a country’s films in their criticism.’” the final chapter will consider the extent to which film criticism shares the nationalist preoccupations of such literary and cultural critics as Leavis.” When Bryher warns that “the Hollywood code will dominate British pictures.D.” I hope to explore the implications of such attempts to define both the English film and the modernist experimental film against Hollywood. Film criticism thus had to develop unique tools for negotiating the high-low divide.” tends to celebrate the journal’s “internationalism. Through this transatlantic project. . While “Close Up” is not in my own college’s library. and postcolonial studies. but also of the highbrow aesthetics that we now call modernism itself.” I hope to use the grant award period. Edited by the modernist writers H. I want to return to “Close Up” to examine the complete run of the journal. imagining a return to transatlantic relations that predate the United States. I hope to engage a broad audience. An article drawn in part from the chapter on Leavis is under consideration at an academic journal. Tentatively titled “England’s Hollywood: Cinema and ‘Close Up. a divide that was marked by the extraordinary dominance of Hollywood over English films. Through an extended analysis of “Close Up.” many of its contributors reveal a strong desire to foster a tradition of English film criticism. While scholarship on “Close Up. as well as the English director Kenneth Macpherson. to return to “Close Up” and complete retrieval of material from this key publication. published monthly from 1927 to 1930 and quarterly from 1931 to 1933. it is easily available on microfilm at a nearby institution. I also plan to write the bulk of the chapter during this time. “Close Up. In June and July 2006.” she is calling for the reactionary production not only of a specifically English cinema. I participate in the larger attempt of Atlantic studies to reconfigure knowledge in the humanities by suggesting that it is necessary to move beyond nation-based epistemologies and geographies in order to understand nationalist pressures upon the development of literary and artistic culture. One correspondent in “Close Up” announces the national urgency of developing English film criticism. In August 2005 I was able to continue research for the final chapter. based in part on film criticism I secured in the modern English-language journal. In so doing. by comparing it to an imperial project: “An Empire’s strength lies in its recruiting posters. summer 2006. Millersville University. twentieth-century British and American literary studies. for example. The above chapters have been completed in draft form. Eliot. I intend to complete my writing and revisions of the entire manuscript during the academic year 2006-07 before submitting the project for the consideration of university presses.

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