By EVE CEDERBAUM
Assistant Professor Benjamin LaBreche of the English department was recently awarded the 2012 James Holly Hanford Essay Award from the Milton Society of America.
The award, presented annually, “recognizes a distinguished article on Milton published in a journal or in a multiauthor collection of essays,” according to the society’s website.
This year, the award has been split between two recipients; Professor LaBreche and Professor Greg Chaplin of Bridgewater University in Massachusetts. LaBreche’s essay, titled “Espousing Liberty: The Gender of Liberalism and the Politics of Miltonic Divorce,” examines Milton’s conflicting “acknowledgements of female equality and his assertions of male superiority,” according to the abstract provided on the website database Project Muse.
Department Chair of English, Linguistics and Communication Teresa A. Kennedy called the award “a well-deserved and outstanding honor for one of the most important emerging Miltonists in the U.S.”
According to LaBreche, it was the question of how a society without a broadly participatory general public evolves and the role of reasonable discourse in relationships and politics that inspired the essay.
He said that both his research and the seminar that he teaches have been influenced through his scholarship, as well as the scholarship of others.
Senior Sheridan Sayles, who is currently taking an independent study with LaBreche, said, “You can really tell his enthusiasm for the subject. You can tell he knows his stuff because he is able to engage in a dialogue [about Milton] with the students.”
LaBreche will be officially awarded at the Milton Society’s annual dinner and meeting in Seattle, Wa. on Jan. 7, 2012.
Alex Van Beek contributed to this report.