March 18, 2008

Professor Olga Anna Duhl Awarded Folter Fellowship from the Bibliographical Society of America

Fellowship will fund research for forthcoming publication

Olga Anna Duhl, professor of foreign languages and literatures, has been awarded the Folter Fellowship in the History of Bibliography from the Bibliographical Society of America. The funds will equip her to research the publication history of a 500-year-old rare book, La Nef des folles (The Ship of Foolish Maidens), which will be included in the critical edition that she is preparing for Editions Champion, Paris.

La Nef des folles is a Middle French adaptation of Ship of Fools, a highly influential allegorical poem published in 1494 by Sebastian Brant that satirizes the follies and vices of late medieval society. Originally written in German, Ship of Fools was so popular that it was soon translated into Latin, French, Dutch, English, and Low German. Ship of Fools stimulated both the development of vernacular cultures and the rise of humanism and the Reformation, according to Duhl.

“During the book’s numerous translations, translators began adding extra details and replacing the abstract moral failings discussed in the original with more contemporary issues, like issues of gender, politics, and economics,” Duhl explains. “I am interested in particular in the role Latin played in the book’s ability to reach such a wide audience. Latin helped to make the text so accessible because it was the unifying language of several countries, much like English is today.”

Duhl explains that the invention of the printing press created different type styles. The different types combined with the multiple translations have made this project a significant investigative exercise.

Most of Duhl’s research will take her to France on sabbatical in 2008-2009 where she will be working with archival material.

“The critical edition I produce will include the French and Latin versions of the text and will be complete with annotations. An English translation will follow,” says Duhl. She hopes to publish her edition in 2010 and expects that it will be a valuable resource for the scholarly community and her teaching.

Duhl has worked with numerous students on this project through the EXCEL research program. These students include Daria Szkwarko ’06 (Berkeley Heights, N.J.), who graduated with a B.S. in neuroscience and a minor in French; Marquis Scholar Richard Lear ’06 (Stroudsburg, Pa.), who graduated with an A.B. in French and government & law; Meredith Terlecki ’03 (Littleton, Colo.), who graduated with a B.S. in neuroscience and an A.B. in French; Gabriela Martins ’03 (Wyckoff, N.J.), who graduated with a B.S. neuroscience and an A.B. in French; Ihssane Loudiyi ’07 (Rabat, Morocco), who graduated with an B.S. in computer science and an A.B. in economics & business; and Marquis Scholar Julia Kumpan ’07 (Danville, Calif.), who graduated with an interdisciplinary A.B. in classical civilization.

  • Foreign Languages and Literatures
  • EXCEL/Undergraduate Research
  • Exceptional Faculty

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