ALCS Essay prizes 2021

28 July 2021
Henriette Louwerse

Congratulations to the winners of the ALCS Essay Prize 2021

Postgraduate/Early Career Prize

Bibliotheca Neerlandica

The winner of the Postgraduate/Early Career Prize is Irving Wolters from UCL, with his essay ‘Genesis of the canon of Dutch literature: The Bibliotheca Neerlandica?’

Although the canon of Dutch literature was not officially digitalised until 2002, this paper presents a view that a Dutch initiative in the 1950s and 60s may have been a genesis of canon building through translation sixty years ahead of its time.

Irving Wolters (UCL)

In the 1950s the Dutch government established an organisation called the Stichting ter Bevordering van de Vertaling van Nederlands Letterkundig Werk. This foundation was served by a commissioning body whose role it was to consider and select titles available to them from the Netherlands and Flanders. Irvin uses minutes of the commissioning body’s meetings obtained from the Letterkundig Museum in The Hague to research this.

Undergraduate Prize

This year there were two winners: Megan Strutt from the University of Sheffield and Anna Mihlic from UCL.

Guus Kuijer

In Megan’s essay, ‘Emancipation, power and religion in Guus Kuijer’s Het boek van alle dingen’, we see the tensions between tradition and modernity in the Orthodox-Protestant family of Kuijer’s nine-year-old protagonist, Thomas Klopper.

Although the typical 1950s family is often referred to as exemplary of ‘family values’, with women perceived as “mothers and homemakers”,  there were also discernible murmurings of women’s liberation at the time; hints of the second wave of feminism that was to emerge in the sixties.

Megan Strutt (Sheffield)

Kuijer’s text explores the effects of a changing societal mood on Thomas’s fundamentally religious family, and Megan’s paper considers how this is represented through the relationship between the themes of emancipation and power.

Language attitudes in Wallonia

In Anna’s essay, ‘Language attitudes in Wallonia towards English and Dutch’, we see how languages in Belgium have an important symbolic value, which is linked to the social, economic, political and cultural history of the country and to the contemporary division into different regions.

In this paper she explores the attitudes towards and the values associated with Dutch and English as foreign languages among university students in the French-speaking part of Belgium.

Anna Mihlic (UCL)

Reflecting on previous literature, Anna’s research examines the following questions: