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Bristol student wins Keats-Shelley essay prize

10 November 2009

Stacey McDowell, a postgraduate student in the Department of English, has won second prize in the 2009 Keats-Shelley essay competition.

McDowell completed an MA at the University of Bristol and is now starting a PhD on representations of taste in Romantic literature.

The awards, set up in 1998 by the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association, encourage talented essayists to write on any aspect of the work or life of Keats, Shelley, Byron or Mary Shelley.

The winners were announced by the chair of the judges, Professor Janet Todd, at an awards ceremony in London last month. Professor Todd is President of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge, and Herbert J C Grierson Professor of English Literature at the University of Aberdeen. She was joined on the essay-judging panel by Professor Simon Bainbridge of Lancaster University and Professor Sharon Ruston of Salford University.

Of the essayists, Professor Todd commented: ‘I gave the second prize to a wonderfully imaginative essay on Keats’s Isabella, or the Pot of Basil, on Isabella’s lover’s head rotting in a pot of basil, a lively poetic discourse, delving entertainingly into the mythology and the possibilities of vegetable necrophilia.’

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