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The Charles Bernheimer Prize Citations 2008

2008 Prize Winner:

Marisa Galvez, "Medium as Genre: A Historical Phenomenology of the Medieval Songbook in the Occitan, German, and Castilian Traditions." (Stanford, 2007)

This dissertation clarifies the historical contexts of production of medieval songbooks in three different vernacular traditions (Occitan, German, and Castilian) and engages with each in an equally masterful fashion while developing an original theoretical argument about the collective reception of lyric texts. Galvez transforms received understandings of medieval authorship or signature by showing how collective oral performances were gradually compiled into "songbooks," which acquired value as forms of knowledge that were then appropriated and circulated among diverse audiences.

Capacious and rigorous, the thesis is a critical re-interpretation of the "emergent genre" of the songbook, and it addresses the reception of this genre as tied to the specific critical agendas of Renaissance, Enlightenment, or Romanticism scholars. Besides challenging received notions of periodization and canon-formation, Galvez enriches the history of interart aesthetics by focusing both on the performance practices that preceded the codification of the text, and on visuals and illustrations that add interpretive dimensions to the texts.

Broad-ranging in its historical and linguistic scope, this theoretically engaging dissertation represents a significant contribution to our understanding of the origins of western conceptions of authorship and literariness.

2008 Bernheimer Prize Committee:
Ronald Bogue, University of Georgia (Chair)
Steven Yao, Hamilton College
Fran├žoise Lionnet, UCLA