Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Winners of the Dr Greg Wells Undergraduate Essay Prizes, 2022

During July 2022 the CSR awarded for the sixth time its Greg Wells Prizes for the best undergraduate intermediate-year and final-year essays and dissertation. In total we received 11 (pre-selected) entries, thanks again to all of those who submitted essays for entry into the prize this year, the standard was once again, very high. And thanks also to our adjudicators, Giacomo Comiati, Sara Trevisan, Lawrence Green, Rosa Salzberg, Anna Laura Puliafito and Máté Vince, to whom we are most grateful for giving their time. The winners were:

Intermediate year essay, Daisy Shead (History) with their essay entitled: ‘What can the account of Al-Ghazāl’s embassy to the Vikings tell us of Hispano-Muslim attitudes towards the far North in the mid-ninth century? The adjudicators in this category said,

“This essay is remarkable in its originality, and it offers a noteworthy example of the interest for pluri-disciplinarity and multi-culturalism – one of the pillars of the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance at Warwick. This vivid interest is shown in the fact that the essay explores – to use the words of the convenor of the module that the winning student attended – “the cross-cultural encounters between regions and religions that considered one another Other”. The student distinguished themselves by being able to deal with a deeply interdisciplinary topic and proving able to discuss it with clarity and perspicacity. Noteworthy also is the excellent use of primary sources and good use of secondary bibliographical reference.”

Final year essay, Clare Merrick (English) with their essay entitled: ‘The Cauldron and the Threat of the ‘Other’ in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Middleton’s The Witch, and Marlowe’s The Jew of Malta. The adjudicators in this category said,

" We thought this was an extremely impressive essay, which showed real skill and achievement particularly in terms of its interdisciplinary scope - engaging with primary sources and approaches from theatre studies, literature, history and art history. It is written in a very engaging and lucid manner and it provokes the reader to rethink some key texts of Renaissance literature as well as to trace their cultural roots - both deep and broad. Although it focuses on key texts from the English Renaissance, the essay is also attentive to connections with European culture and sources. This is an outstanding achievement and reflects work of a very high standard.”

Final year dissertation, Louise Rosetti (Liberal Arts) with their dissertation entitled: ‘From Mimesis to Poesis: Poetry, Nature, and Subjugation’. The adjudicators in this category said,

This is an outstanding essay and a highly original and innovative piece of research. The dissertation proposes a reading of Dante’s Commedia and Tasso’s Gerusalemme Liberata as a starting point for an intellectual history of sustainability. The work consists in an ecocritical analysis of how the perception of the relationship between humankind and nature changed during the early modern period. However, the dissertation offers more than a simple analysis of two classics of the literary canon (Dante, Tasso): it deploys some of the foundational texts of philosophy and Christianity (Aristotle, Plato, Augustine), their reception in the medieval and early modern periods, and some elements of 20th century debate on the post-Enlightenment idea of nature. In doing so it offers an impressively wide-ranging exploration of Ecocriticism. From Mimesis to Poesis’ main achievement is to combine the interdisciplinary methodology of Anglo-American ecocritical scholarship with the analysis of early modern Italian literary texts, in order to propose a new theoretical framework that interrogates early modern culture through issues of sustainability. The work is based on extensive research into, and analysis of, primary sources, as well as a confident critique of secondary sources that highlights major gaps in existing literature. The essay is innovative in its aim and methodology, which makes it inherently risky, but we felt that it absolutely has the potential to be developed further into a project that will open new perspectives of research for Renaissance Studies, as well as Italian and comparative literature, classical reception, intellectual history, spatial criticism, and Ecocriticism. We hope that the author will continue working on this topic, which could easily form the basis of a postgraduate project, and in the future, of outstanding publications.”