Presidential Undergraduate Prize Citation 2014 (Honorable Mention)
2014 Prize Winner:
This year's Presidential Undergraduate Honorable Mention for Best Undergraduate Essay on a Comparative Topic goes to Alice Maglio of Georgetown University, for her paper, “Into the Abyss: Framing in 1001 Nights and The Decameron”.
This thesis is a brilliant reading of the frame narrative and narrative voices. The summaries of Genette and Gide, the explication of mise-en-abyme early in the thesis, and the use of it as an overarching structure and “frame” for the project demonstrate mastery of many different discursive registers. The thesis is impeccably written. Furthermore, it is not only a pleasure to read, but it is also innovative, instructive, and original in its juxtaposition of texts and its focus. Its historical and geographical movements across texts including the 1001 Nights and The Decameron have scholarly implications for other frame narratives – The Canterbury Tales, for instance. The juxtaposition of the frame narrative with a reading of Pasolini as an auteur is historically grounded; it is also a contemporary theme that has aesthetic and political implications.
The thesis is impressive not only at the undergraduate level but also at the Masters level. If it were to be more thoroughly supported by an engagement with secondary sources, it would be ready for publication.
2014 Presidential Undergraduate Prize Committee:
Esther Whitfield, Brown University (Chair)
Erin Labbie, Bowling Green State University
George Z. Gasyna, University of Illinois, Urbana