Beatrice White Prize

Beatrice White


The Beatrice White Award is awarded to the best scholarly article noticed in The Years Work in English Studies (YWES) in the fields of English Literature before 1590. The judging process is carried out by the YWES editors after input and recommendation of YWES Contributors in relevant fields, during a particular given year.

Professor Beatrice White, for whom the prize is named, was a well-loved and respected academic, interested particularly in mediaeval and renaissance English literature. She was also a creative teacher and a very active and long-standing member of the English Association.


Prizes awarded:

2021 Award

This year's recipient of the 2021 Beatrice White Prize is Professor Marion Turner for her publication Chaucer: A European Life (Princeton UP, 2019).

Marion TurnerMarion Turner is Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford, where she is a Tutorial Fellow of Jesus College, and teaches medieval literature and life-writing.  Marion has appeared on many radio and television programmes and often speaks at literary festivals and to schools. Chaucer: A European Life was the first full biography of Chaucer for a generation, and has won numerous accolades (it is the winner of the British Academy Rose Mary Crawshay prize, was shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize, and was named a Book of the Year by the TimesSunday TimesTLS, and New Statesman). Marion’s earlier books include Chaucerian Conflict (OUP, 2007) and, as editor, A Handbook of Middle English Studies (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013). She is a Trustee of the New Chaucer Society. Marion has received major funding in the past from the British Academy, the Wellcome Trust and the Leverhulme Trust. Her next book, also to be published by Princeton University Press, is a biography of the Wife of Bath across time, from antiquity to 2021. In 2023, she will be curating a major exhibition at the Bodleian Library, on ‘Chaucer Here and Now.’

2020 Award

This year's recipient of the 2020 Beatrice White Prize has been awarded to Professor Leonard Neidorf. The Editors wish to recognise Leonard's important contributions to the field, inlcuding his article 'Wealhtheow and Her Name: Etymology, Characterization and Textual Criticism' (Neophilologus, 102, no 1 (January 2018): 75-89).

Leonard Neidorf is Professor of English at Nanjing University, where he teaches courses on medieval literature and the history of the English language. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and his B.A. from New York University. He is the author of The Transmission of Beowulf: Language, Culture, and Scribal Behavior (Cornell University Press, 2017) and the editor of The Dating of Beowulf: A Reassessment (Boydell & Brewer, 2014), which was named an Outstanding Academic Title by CHOICE. With Rafael J. Pascual and Tom Shippey, Neidorf co-edited Old English Philology: Studies in Honour of R.D. Fulk (Boydell & Brewer, 2016). His articles have appeared in such journals as ELH, English Studies, Tolkien Studies, Modern Philology, Anglo-Saxon England, and Journal of Germanic Linguistics.


2019 Award

The 2019 prize has been awarded to Kellie Robertson for Nature Speaks: Medieval Literature and Aristotelian Philosophy (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017).

2018 Award

The 2018 prize has been awarded to Eric Weiskott for English Alliterative Verse: Poetic Tradition and Literary History (Cambridge University Press, 2016).

2017 Award

The 2017 prize has been awarded to Annie Sutherland for English Psalms in the Middle Ages 1300-1450 (Oxford University Press, 2015).

Sutherland suggests that that the translations of and commentaries on the psalms suggested a dual attitude to reading, that the Psalter should be viewed as 'an inviolate mystery', demanding a literalized reading and translation, but also 'a book ripe for interpretive adornment ... engendering multiple readings'.

[Anne Baden-Daintre, The Year's Work in English Studies, V.96 (2017) p. 26]

2016 Award

The 2016 prize has been awarded to Lawrence Warner for The Myth of Piers Plowman (Cambridge University Press, 2014).

Warner's book [gives] careful readings not only of extant manuscripts but also other documents, linking the poem and poet to a series of events, editors, and, finally, forgers, who give shape and meaning to the archive. The Myth of Piers Plowman ultimately makes visible the structure and fabrication of a collection of texts, ideas, and interpretations that constitute the poem.

[William Rogers The Year's Work in English Studies, V. 95 (2016) Chapter III]


2015 Award

The 2015 award was awarded to Joanna Bellis for her essay ‘Rymes sette for a remembraunce: memorialisation and mimetic language in the war poetry of the late Middle Ages’, Review of English Studies, 64:264 (2013), 183-207.

Bellis argues persuasively that this conflict sharpened historiographers’ awareness of the writing of history as a constitutive, rather than mimetic, practice, discussing the work of Richard Grafton alongside verses written in the wake of the Burgundian failure to retake Calais and Lydgate’s Title and Pedigree of King Henry VI. Conscious of the ways in which poetic remembrance is politically inflected, these writers also recognize history as a malleable and collective production.

[Elizabeth Elliott, The Year's Work in English Studies, V.94 (2015) p. 156]

2014 Award

The 2014 award was awarded to Kathleen Tonry for her essay entitled 'Reading History in Caxton's Polychronicon' which was originally published in volume 111 of the Journal of English and Germanic Philology.

Tonry elegantly demonstrates how Caxton's adjustments to the chronicle form encourage a new primacy of the reader while also, to an extent, closing off medieval chronicle history as if it is now complete and receding into chronological distance.

[Holly Moyer, The Year's Work in English Studies, V. 93 (2014)]

2013 Award

The 2013 prize was awarded to Roy M. Liuzza, the editor of Anglo-Saxon Prognostics: An Edition and Translation of Texts from London, British Library, MS Cotton Tiberius A.iii. Anglo-Saxon Texts (Boydell and Brewer).

This book exemplifies a decade's research into complex and much misunderstood material - prognostications - that, far from being heterodox or marginal, played a major role in Anglo-Saxon (and later medieval) religious and intellectual practices. Not only, then, does translation of the texts rehabilitate a genre, but it also provides an exemplary edition and translation of the texts in the process. We should like to recognize, through this prize, the importance and scholarly significance of the critical edition within literary and historical studies.

[The Editors, The Year's Work in English Studies, V.92 (2013)]

2012 Award

The 2012 prize was awarded to Anthony Bale for Feeling Persecuted: Christians, Jews, and Images of Violence in the Middle Ages (Reaktion).

a fascinating exploration of the affective function of narratives of Jewish violence in medieval Christian culture. Bale argues persuasively that, rather than serving the ends of mimetic realism, such texts operated as stimuli to empathy and compunction.
[Elizabeth Elliott, The Year's Work in English Studies, V. 91 (2012) p.220]

2011 Award

The 2011 Prize was awarded to Penny Granger for The N-Town Play: Drama and Liturgy in Medieval East Anglia (Boydell and Brewer).

More tightly focused in its scrutiny and exposition is Penny Granger's admirable analysis of the N-Town play, the first detailed monographic study of what remains in many ways the Cinderella of the religious cycle plays - if a cycle play is indeed what it is rather than a collection of somewhat disparate material. .. is a detailed and impressive analysis of the separate dramatic materials that make up the N-Town manuscript, which draws out the overriding importance of the liturgy (especially the Eucharist and the Magnificat) to its conception and effects.
[Greg Walker, The Year's Work in English Studies, V. 90 (2011), p.256]

2010 Award

Douglas Gray, Later Medieval English Literature (Oxford University Press)

Douglas Gray presents a literary guide for appreciating the fifteenth century (and early sixteenth). Varying degrees of depth are employed, and the emphasis throughout is to entertain as well as instruct. His introduction covers England in its European and global context, popular and learned beliefs, book ownership and patronage, and language change and use.
[Juris G. Lidaka, The Year’s Work in English Studies, V.89 (2010) p.224]


Further previous winners

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