Winner of the NAVSA Best Book of the Year

Yopie Prins, Ladies’ Greek: Victorian Translations of Tragedy (Princeton UP, 2017)

Read the Introduction from Ladies’ Greek here!

We are pleased to announce that the winner of NAVSA’s best book of the year is Yopie Prins’s Ladies’ Greek: Victorian Translations of Tragedy. Ladies’ Greek is a quietly, but extravagantly, accomplished book. At once a work of literary interpretation and a historical account, it tells the story of women’s study of Greek in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and asks why such study might matter personally, socially, and institutionally. There was, Prins shows, a widespread desire among women for the knowledge of Greek, spurred by the strange pleasure of reading a dead language, one which cannot truly be known. Focusing on a range of women authors, scholars, and translators including such luminaries as Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Janet Case, and Virginia Woolf, Prins moves from the fascination cast by the surface of manuscripts to the communal satisfactions of dramatic performance, and shares them with her reader. We’re given the generous pleasure not merely of learning from but of thinking with someone in possession of a rare medley of talents as translator, archivist, classicist, Victorianist, and critic. Ladies’ Greek grants respect to kindred spirits of the past and issues a timely reminder of the power of knowledge and the importance of the institutions that support it.

Yopie Prins is the Irene Butter Collegiate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University Michigan. She grew up in The Netherlands and Syracuse, New York, and completed her BA with Highest Honors in Ancient Greek from Swarthmore College. She was awarded a Marshall Scholarship to study at Newnham College, Cambridge University, where she received the MA in English Literature. Subsequently she pursued a year of Translation Studies as Fulbright Scholar at the University of Amsterdam, and received her PhD in Comparative Literature from Princeton University. She is the author of Victorian Sappho (1999) and Ladies’ Greek (2017) and co-editor of Dwelling in Possibility (1997) and The Lyric Theory Reader (2014), and has published numerous articles on nineteenth-century poetry and prosody, classical reception studies, and critical translation studies. She is the recipient of Mellon, NEH and Guggenheim Fellowships, and has served as President of the American Comparative Literature Association.

Honorable Mention

Daniel Hack, Reaping Something New: African American Transformations of Victorian Literature (Princeton UP, 2017)

Read the Introduction from Reaping Something New here!

We are delighted to announce that the Honorable Mention goes to Daniel Hack for Reaping Something New: African American Transformations of Victorian Literature. With its breathtaking transatlantic scope and its impressive mastery of two literary traditions that are not usually thought about in relation to one another, Hack’s book brings the field of Victorian studies into new and vital terrain. Uncovering nineteenth-century African-American authors’ and editors’ deep engagement with British literature of the period, Hack explores how Victorian texts performed important political and cultural work in the American context by virtue of their portability as well as their aura of geographical distance. Drawing attention to issues of periodical framing, contextual variance, and dispersed readerships, as well as to particular instances of citation, allusion, and reinvention, Hack provides a detailed account of how reception became reinterpretation and redeployment. Reaping Something New, through its transatlantic lens, shows how race is a significant factor even in Victorian texts where it is not an obvious concern, and makes a reciprocal argument about the importance of reading Victorian literature as well as American literature in the context of transatlantic nineteenth-century exchange. A balanced structure, clear argumentation, and a witty, measured voice make this path breaking book a pleasure to read.

Daniel Hack is Professor of English at the University of Michigan and Editor of Victorian Literature and Culture, a quarterly journal published by Cambridge University Press. He works primarily on Victorian literature and print culture, nineteenth-century African American literature and print culture, and the history of the novel. He received his BA from Yale and his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley, and taught at the University at Buffalo, SUNY before moving to the University of Michigan in 2007. Hack is the author of two books: The Material Interests of the Victorian Novel (Virginia, 2005) and Reaping Something New: African American Transformations of Victorian Literature (Princeton, 2017). His articles have appeared in American Literary History, Critical Inquiry, ELH, Novel: A Forum on Fiction, Victorian Studies, and elsewhere. He received NAVSA’s annual Donald Gray Prize for best article in the field in 2012 and Honorable Mention for the Gray Prize in 2008, and Reaping Something New was the subject of a recent Book Forum in Victorian Studies.

Please join us at a special session honoring Ladies’ Greek and the other excellent books published in 2017 on Saturday, October 13 from 1:30pm-2:45pm.

Book Prize Judges

Andrew H. Miller is Professor of English at Johns Hopkins University. On Not Being Someone Else: Stories of Our Unled Lives is forthcoming from Harvard in 2019. He’s also the author of The Burdens of Perfection: On Ethics and Reading in Nineteenth-Century Literature (2008) and essays that have appeared in Raritan, Brick, Nineteenth Century Literature, Michigan Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. His essay “Lives Unled in Realist Fiction,” published in Representations, won the Don Gray Prize in 2007. A long-time editor of Victorian Studies, he was an original member of the NAVSA Executive Council.



Elizabeth Carolyn Miller is Professor of English at the University of California, Davis. She is the author of Slow Print: Literary Radicalism and Late Victorian Print Culture (Stanford 2013), which was named NAVSA Best Book of the Year and received Honorable Mention for the MSA Book Prize, and Framed: The New Woman Criminal in British Culture at the Fin de Siècle (Michigan 2008). Currently she is engaged in a study of ecology, capital, and extraction literature titled “Extraction Ecologies: Literature of the Long Exhaustion, 1830s-1930s.”