Department of English announces new fellowships

At the end of 2019, the Department of English learned that beginning with the 2020-21 academic year, it will be able to offer up to five Pridmore Fellowships to distinguished doctoral students pursuing studies in literature, culture and theory.

Beginning in the fall of 2020, then, the department will appoint its first Pridmore Distinguished Fellow in Literary History. This fellowship will provide additional financial support for five years of a student’s doctoral study. Subsequently, in any given year, the department will sponsor a Pridmore Fellow in the first year of doctoral study, one in the second year, and so forth, so that the full complement of Pridmore Fellows will include a student at every stage of the doctoral program.

“By offering a full five years of support for doctoral study,” Lawton Professor S. E. Gontarski notes, “these Distinguished Fellowships not only bring us more in line with fellowships offered by our aspirational schools in their doctoral programs, but it becomes a major recruiting tool for us to be in a position to bring the very best students of literature and literary history to the English department’s doctoral program at Florida State University.”

The fellowships are named for Jan Pridmore, who has been involved in English literature and higher education for many years. Since 1998, she has maintained a website devoted to literary scholarship called, which the New York Public Library identified in 2003 as one of the 25 "Best of Reference” resources. Students and educators in English departments throughout the world use this website to support and advance the discipline.

“This wonderful gift by The Pridmore Family Foundation recognizes the strength of our literature faculty, and will make it possible for us to provide improved and sustained stipends for outstanding graduate students in the literature program,” Professor Gary Taylor says. “At a time when the study of literature has been declining in so many universities, it is heartening to see such a strong commitment to the long history of literature in the English language."