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Plan II Honors Associate Director, Alexandra Wettlaufer, Awarded Guggenheim Fellowship

Wed, April 9, 2014
Plan II Honors Associate Director, Alexandra Wettlaufer, Awarded Guggenheim Fellowship

In its ninetieth annual competition for the United States and Canada, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has awarded 177 Fellowships (including one joint Fellowship) to a diverse group of 178 scholars, artists, and scientists. Appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise, the successful candidates were chosen from a group of almost 3,000 applicants.

With the support of the Guggenheim Fellowship, she plans to complete her manuscript entitled Reading George: Sand, Eliot, and the Novel in France and Britain, 1830–1900. Perhaps the most influential women writers of the nineteenth century, George Sand and George Eliot were consistently compared to one another by critics and readers of their day, and from book reviews to obituaries the two were linked not only as popular female authors, but also as avatars of the ethics and aesthetics of their respective nations. Yet despite these long-standing connections, surprisingly little critical attention has been focused in recent years on the textual relations between this pair of pseudonymous Georges. This study seeks to examine the transnational context within which their works were first produced and consumed in order to come to a better understanding not only of Sand’s and Eliot’s individual bodies of work, but also of the ways in which nineteenth-century artistic identity, reading, gender, and the novel were constructed in a dialectic conversation between France and Britain."


Often characterized as "midcareer" awards, Guggenheim Fellowships are intended for men and women who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.

Fellowships are awarded through two annual competitions: one open to citizens and permanent residents of the United States and Canada, and the other open to citizens and permanent residents of Latin America and the Caribbean.  Candidates must apply to the Guggenheim Foundation in order to be considered in either of these competitions.

The Foundation receives between 3,500 and 4,000 applications each year.  Although no one who applies is guaranteed success in the competition, there is no prescreening:  all applications are reviewed.  Approximately 200 Fellowships are awarded each year.

During the rigorous selection process, applicants will first be pooled with others working in the same field, and examined by experts in that field: the work of artists will be reviewed by artists, that of scientists by scientists, that of historians by historians, and so on. The Foundation has a network of several hundred advisers, who either meet at the Foundation offices to look at applicants' work, or receive application materials to read offsite.  These advisers, all of whom are themselves former Guggenheim Fellows, then submit reports critiquing and ranking the applications in their respective fields.  Their recommendations are then forwarded to and weighed by a Committee of Selection, which then determines the number of awards to be made in each area.  Occasionally, no application in a given area is considered strong enough to merit a Fellowship.

The Committee of Selection then forwards its recommendations to the Board of Trustees for final approval.  The successful candidates in the United States and Canada competition are announced in early April; those in the Latin America and Caribbean competition, in early June.


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