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Harry Levin Prize

Note: in 2012, the ACLA changed the structure of its book prizes, and now awards two different book prizes each year: the René Wellek Prize for the best book published in the field of comparative literature, and the Harry Levin Prize for the best first book published in the field of comparative literature. First books are also eligible for the Wellek Prize, but no book may be nominated for both prizes. Please note that only single-author books may be nominated for either prize. Publishers and authors are invited to submit nominations for both prizes. Further information on the Harry Levin Prize is available below; questions or comments are welcome and may be sent to the Secretary-Treasurer, Alexander Beecroft.

The Harry Levin Prize recognizes an outstanding first book in the discipline of comparative literature; fields may include literary or cultural theory or history, or any other field of comparative literature. The 2017 Levin Prize will be awarded to a book published during the calendar years 2015 and 2016 as the author's first book-length publication, and will be awarded at the ACLA annual meeting in 2017 at Utrecht University in Utrecht, the Netherlands.  The prize carries complimentary registration for the Annual Meeting, as well as hotel and airfare accommodations (not including food) to facilitate the recipient attending the 2017 ACLA Annual Meeting.

Congratulations to the co-winners of the 2016 Harry Levin Prize:
  • Tamara T. Chin, Savage Exchange: Han Imperialism, Chinese Literary Style, and the Economic Imagination (CITATION)
  • Jeffrey Sacks, Iterations of Loss (CITATION)
If you wish to nominate one or more titles for the 2017 Harry Levin Prize, please send a brief letter to that effect and a copy of the book to each member of the 2017 Harry Levin Prize Committee, including the ACLA Secretariat.
Questions: email the Secretary-Treasurer, Alexander Beecroft.

You may mail submissions to the 2017 Harry Levin Prize Committee at the following addresses:

American Comparative Literature Association, University of South Carolina Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, 1620 College Street, Rm. 813A, Columbia SC 29208
Gaurav Desai (University of Michigan - Committee Chair 2016-2017), Department of English, 435 S. State Street, 3187 Angell Hall, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1003
Jesús Velasco (Columbia University) - 454 Riverside Drive, 9A, New York, NY 10027.

The deadline for submission is October 1st, 2016. The ACLA encourages the submission of titles as early as possible, as the committee usually receives a large number of submissions at the end of the year, and can devote proportionately less time to them than to those that arrive early.

A selective approach to nominations is also recommended, in order that a few books of superior quality may stand out.

Below is a list of previous Levin Prize winners.  Please click on the year of the prize to view further information about the prize winner and the book (including a link to Amazon's web page for the book):
  • 2015: R. John Williams, The Buddha in the Machine: Art, Technology, and the Meeting of East and West (Yale University Press, 2014)
  • 2015 Honorable Mention: Tsitsi Jaji, Africa in Stereo: Modernism, Music and Pan-African Solidarity (Oxford University Press, 2014)
  • 2014: Sunil M. Agnani. Hating Empire Properly: The Two Indies and the Limits of Enlightenment Anticolonialism (Fordham University Press, 2013). and
    2014: Gerard Passannante. The Lucretian Renaissance: Philology and the Afterlife of Tradition (University of Chicago Press), 2011.
    2014 Honorable Mention: Hala Halim, Alexandrian Cosmopolitanism: An Archive (Fordham University Press, 2013).
  • 2013: Mary Franklin-Brown. Reading the World: Encyclopedic Writing in the Scholastic Age (University of Chicago Press, 2012).
    2013 Honorable Mention: Jacob Edmond, A Common Strangeness: Contemporary Poetry, Cross-Cultural Encounter, Comparative Literature (Fordham University Press, 2012)  and
    2013 Honorable Mention:  Shaden M. Tageldin, Disarming Words: Empire and the Seductions of Translation in Egypt (University of California Press, 2011).
  • 2011: Jahan Ramazani. A Transnational Poetics. (University of Chicago Press, 2009).
    2011 Honorable Mention: Andrew Piper. Dreaming in Books: The Making of the Bibliographic Imagination in the Romantic Age. (University of Chicago Press, 2009)  and
    2011 Honorable Mention: Margaret Cohen. The Novel and the Sea. (Princeton University Press, 2010)
  • 2009: Ross Hamilton. Accident: A Philosophical and Literary History. (University of Chicago Press, 2007)  and
    2009: Adam Potkay. The Story of Joy: From the Bible to Late Romanticism. (Cambridge University Press, 2007)
  • 2007: Lois Parkinson Zamora. The Inordinate Eye: New World Baroque and Latin American Fiction. (University of Chicago Press, 2006)
    2007 Honorable Mention: Wai Chee Dimock. Through Other Continents: American Literature Across Deep Time. (Princeton University Press, 2006)
  • 2005: Seth Lerer, Error and The Academic Self: The Scholarly Imagination, Medieval To Modern (Columbia University Press, 2002)
  • 2003: Julie Stone Peters, Theatre of the Book, 1480-1880: Print, Text and Performance in Europe (Oxford University Press, 2000)
    2003 Honorable Mention: Gil Anidjar. ‘Our Place in al-Andalus’: Kabbalah, Philosophy, Literature in Arab Jewish Letters (Stanford University Press, 2002).  and
    2003 Honorable Mention: Ian Balfour. The Rhetoric of Romantic Prophecy (Stanford University Press, 2002).
    2003 Honorable Mention: John C. Shields. The American Aeneas: Classical Origins Of American Self (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2002).
  • 2001: Leonard Barkan, Unearthing the Past: Archeology and Aesthetics in the Making of Renaissance Culture (Yale University Press, 1999)
  • 1999: Gauri Viswanathan, Outside the Fold: Conversion, Modernity, and Belief (Princeton University Press, 1998)
  • 1997: Paul Alpers, What Is Pastoral? (University of Chicago Press, 1996)
  • 1995: Marie-Hélène Huet, Monstrous Imagination (Harvard University Press, 1993)
  • 1993: J. Hillis Miller, Illustration (Harvard University Press,1992)
  • 1990: Mary E. Wack, Lovesickness in the Middle Ages: The Viaticum and Its Commentaries (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990)
  • 1987: Annabel Patterson, Pastoral and Ideology: Virgil to Valéry (University of California Press, 1987)   and
    1987: David Hayman, Re-Forming the Narrative: Towards a Mechanics of Modernist Fiction (Cornell University Press, 1987)
  • 1985: Virgil Nemoianu, The Taming of Romanticism: European literature and the age of Biedermeier (Princeton University Press, 1985)
  • 1982: Thomas M. Greene, The Light in Troy (Yale University Press, 1982)
  • 1978: Victor Brombert, The Romantic Prison (Princeton University Press,1978)