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The Horst Frenz Prize Citations 2005

2005 Prize Winner:

Geoffrey Baker (Rutgers University), for his paper, "Empiricism and Empire: Orientalist Antiquing in Balzac's Peau de chagrin, presented at the 2004 Annual Meeting in Ann Arbor.

Geoffrey Baker's paper, ìEmpiricism and Empire: Orientalist Antiquing in Balzac's Peau de chagrin,î treats the exotic Orientalist object, a piece of donkey skin of Arabic provenance, as a radically foreign object that symbolizes what cannot be contained by Western epistemologies, be they theological, or secular and empirical. The paper beautifully lays out the contradictions of this Oriental talismanic object, whose power leads its possessor to his mysterious death, with Edward Said's construction of an Orientalism that organizes and divides, like empire, and controls the exotic Orient. The paper suggests a more generalized argument: that such objects from the margins of Europe, while nominally under the control of the realist imagination in nineteenth-century realist fiction, manage to disrupt the control of realism, and of empire itself. Geoffrey Baker is from Rutgers University, and his dissertation director is William Collins Donahue.

2005 Frenz Prize Committee:
Kathleen Komar (University of California - Los Angeles, chair)
Gustavo Pellón (University of Virginia)
Janet Walker (Rutgers University)