The HLQ announces the Centennial Essay Prizewinner: Emanuel Stelzer


The Huntington Library Quarterly congratulates Emanuel Stelzer (University of Verona), whose essay “The Last Early Modern Epyllion: William Sampson’s Love’s Metamorphosis, Or: Apollo and Daphne” has been awarded the Huntington Centennial Essay Prize.

Using various kinds of literary evidence—from unique archival discoveries to classical sources, and from scribal hands to obscure rhetorical devices—“The Last Early Modern Epyllion” argues that a manuscript left behind by William Sampson in imitation of Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis constitutes the last literary epyllion. 

Members of the prize committee described the essay as “a tour de force of scholarship and sensitive close reading [that] follows the facts of authorship and patronage in several carefully considered directions, never going beyond where the evidence leads. The contribution will be important to students of the generic contours of Renaissance verse and of Margaret Cavendish and her family as well as to Shakespeareans.” It “not only brings to light a hitherto understudied final example of the genre, but also mounts an original argument about its sources, provenance, aims, contemporary resonance and readership, in the process demonstrating impressive archival scholarship, erudition, [and] close reading.”

The essay has been published in the summer 2020 issue of the HLQ and is available to read free of charge at Project MUSE

Emanuel Stelzer is a postdoctoral researcher in English literature at the University of Verona. His main research areas are early modern literature and drama, visual culture studies, and textual scholarship. He is the author of a monograph, Portraits in Early Modern English Drama: Visual Culture, Play-Texts, and Performances (2019), and he has published articles in The Journal of English and Germanic PhilologyEarly TheatreEnglish StudiesNotes and Queries, and Critical Survey.



Honorable Mentions

The committee also nominated two essays for honorable mentions. These will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal. These are, in order of author last name:

John R. Pagan (University of Richmond), “Poor Babes, Desperate Mothers: Concealment of Dead Newborns in Early Virginia.”

Carly Watson (University of Oxford), “‘This uncomatable Book’: New Evidence of the Circulation and Reception of the Poetry of James VI/I.”


Offered in celebration of The Huntington’s Centennial in 2019–20, the Centennial Essay Prize was created to promote scholarship in British and American studies from the sixteenth through the long eighteenth centuries. The author received a cash award of $1,000 and publication in the journal. 


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