Insight Development Grant supports Fuller Appreciation of Shakespeare’s Work
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St. Jerome’s University (SJU) English Faculty member Assistant Professor Dr. Alysia Kolentsis has been awarded an Insight Development Grant by the Government of Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). The $20,940 in funding will support a project entitled “Shakespeare’s Changing Language: Early Modern English and Linguistic Innovation”, which explores how the uniquely vibrant linguistic climate of Shakespeare's age influenced his creativity with language.


Insight Development Grants support the development of new research questions, and encourage experimentation with new methods, theoretical approaches and ideas. Funding for short-term research development projects, of up to two years, is proposed by individuals or teams. Dr. Kolentsis’s research will focus on different but complementary areas of the changing language, including the tension between Latin and English, the rise of English grammar books and the influence of the Tudor grammar school, England's expanding linguistic diversity, and contemporary debates about language.


“While Shakespeare is widely recognized as a language innovator, this project explores a little-recognized aspect of his linguistic creativity, and uncovers the rhetorical possibilities opened up by the distinctive linguistic climate of the age,” says Dr. Kolentsis.  “The project suggests that Shakespeare's linguistic innovation extends beyond his penchant for novel word coinages and compelling turns of phrase. It isolates a more subtle component of his linguistic creativity -- the unique resources of his language -- to expose a poet and playwright remarkably in tune with the tools of his trade. This attention to the little-known foundations of Shakespeare's artistry will ultimately allow for a more complete understanding, and a fuller appreciation of his work.”


“Dr. Kolentsis’s work is an outstanding example of what the St. Jerome’s University English Department does best: combining tradition with innovation,” notes Dr. Tristanne Connolly, Associate Professor and Chair of English. “Her integration of literary study with rhetoric and linguistics reflects the unique character of English at Waterloo, which inspired her as an SJU undergraduate. We are very proud of Dr. Kolentsis for winning this competitive and prestigious grant that will support her exciting research and also provide enriching research opportunities for students.”


Dr. Kolentsis’s Insight Development Grant is both an acknowledgement from her peers that her high-quality research will significantly contribute to the study of the relationship between Shakespeare and the English language. St. Jerome’s University has a long and successful tradition of supporting research and teaching in Shakespeare studies.