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The Charles Bernheimer Prize Citations 2004

2004 Prize Winner:

Stephanie Glaser (Indiana University, Ph.D. 2003) "'Explorations of the Gothic Cathedral
in Nineteenth-Century France." The dissertation was directed by Claus Clüver.

Stephanie Glaser’s dissertation takes up a core issue in Comparative Literature studies: the theoretically responsible critical examination of correspondences between the visual arts and written text. She has worked out those correspondences in both French and European history and within a larger framework derived from cultural studies generally.

There is nothing arbitrary in her comparisons and nothing trivial in the way that she pursues them through various languages, literary traditions, and disciplines. In examining the political, social, and aesthetic factors at work in the 19th-century views of “Gothic” as an art form and as a vehicle for cultural expression, Dr. Glaser leads her readers through a ‘travelogue’ of that century. She begins, however, not in France but in England and Germany, where she explores the intellectual and cultural history of ‘Gothicism.’ In France, she considers the relevance of the Gothic cathedral to the French Revolution and further explores the relevance of the Gothic to the major historical events and institutions of 19th-century France. Images of the cathedral, she shows, are closely related to images of national identity; to theories of artistic creation and the nature of the work of art; to political and social contexts that include both religious definitions of faith and recommended living conditions for workers. The dissertation is copiously documented with references to literature and art, and its annotations reflect extensive primary research in international libraries, institutes, and museums as well as an enviable knowledge of the relevant scholarship across various disciplines. Throughout, her analyses remain critically informed as she moves from stage to stage, from the visual arts to philosophical texts to more puler works, and as she ably addresses the larger implications of even the most local detail.

Stephanie Glaser is to be congratulated for having clearly conceptualized a topic of such transdisciplinary and intracultural interest, for having devised a plan to represent its multiple geographic and theoretical interrelationships, and finally for having executed that plan with deftness and subtlety, with thorough scholarship and critical sophistication, and with lucidity and elegance.

2004 Bernheimer Prize Committee:
Michael Palencia-Roth, University of Illinois
Sarah Lawall, University of Massachusetts