UMW English Professor Receives Milton Society Award

Ben LaBreche, assistant professor in English at the University of Mary Washington, has been selected to receive the prestigious James Holly Hanford Award from the Milton Society of America.

The award recognizes a distinguished published article on John Milton, the 17th century poet and author of Paradise Lost, and will be shared this year by two recipients. LaBreche won the prize for his essay, “Espousing Liberty: The Gender of Liberalism and the Politics of Miltonic Divorce.” The essay, selected from among the more than 100 Miltonic articles published each year, appeared in English Literary History, a quarterly journal of The Johns Hopkins University for scholars and educators in English and American literature, literary history and theory. The Milton Society will present the award to LaBreche at the annual dinner meeting of the society at the Modern Language Association convention in Seattle in January 2012.

LaBreche currently is writing a book on Milton’s conception of liberty and completing an article that addresses the possibilities and problems of religion in the public spheres of 17th century England and 21st century liberal democracies. This year, he received a research grant from the Folger Institute and the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies as well as a faculty development grant from Mary Washington.

LaBreche received both his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from Yale University. While a student at Yale, he had an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship in Humanistic Studies.

According to the website, the Milton Society “aims to further Milton scholarship, not only in the U.S. but internationally, by bringing Milton scholars together at an annual dinner, by selecting outstanding scholars for honor, by publishing an annual booklet and maintaining a website honoring these scholars and summarizing the work of the society, by gathering books, articles and other materials pertaining to Milton, by encouraging research in progress, and by promoting exchange of ideas in the field of Milton study.”

About Brynn Boyer

Brynn Boyer is assistant director of media and public relations and a 2010 graduate of UMW.