Go Back to the Text: PhD Graduate Katie Davis Wins Jane Austen Essay Contest

Go Back to the Text: PhD Graduate Katie Davis Wins Jane Austen Essay Contest

When researching the essay that would later win first prize in the graduate division of the Jane Austen Society of North America's (JASNA) annual essay contest, Katie Davis, who graduated from UD with a doctorate in literature last May, employed her UD training.

"The way I learned to read Austen at UD is to go back to the text," said Davis. "So I read and re-read the text very carefully."

While pondering the promptwhy Austen's novel "Pride and Prejudice" is timelessDavis noticed a shift in verb tense during a critical moment in the reconciliation scene between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. This detail led Davis to write "The adieu is charity itself: One timeless feature of 'Pride and Prejudice'" an essay on the timelessness of a love founded on charityan essay chosen from a pool of over 200 submissions.

As one of the winners, Davis will be a guest of honor at JASNA's Annual General Meeting in Minneapolis this September. In addition, she will receive a $1,000 scholarship, and her essay will be published on the JASNA website.

"Her critical skill, eloquence, and imagination would have made Jane Austen herself proud," said Eric W. Nye, JASNA essay coordinator and visiting fellow.

Davis, who wrote her dissertation on "Liberty in Jane Austen's 'Persuasion'" is enthusiastic to continue her scholarship on the 19th century British novelist. In the coming year, Davis will teach literature courses at UD and Southern Methodist University.

"There's so much to be said about Jane Austen that hasn't been said yet, especially in the growing movement of Austen scholarship that focuses on virtue-ethics," said Davis.

While Davis claims the inaugural first prize win for the university at JASNA's annual essay contest, UD regularly puts in a strong showing with literature graduate students Shannon Blatt, Mary Parrack and Jessica Hooten all having previously won second or third place in the graduate division.

PHOTO: Davis with her brothers and father at Commencement.

News

Emergency Relief Fund Renders Fast Aid to Students in Need

Edisson Ramos, BA '20, is one of many students receiving assistance from UD's COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, which has currently raised nearly $90,000; the first of the funds were distributed last week to help students make their April rent, and Director of Financial Aid Taryn Anderson, BA '07, is in the process of distributing a second wave to students with housing or food insecurity or in need of Wi-Fi or other resources for online learning.

+ Read More

Words of Wisdom, Advice Bolster Educators Now Teaching from Afar

In our current condition, with most of the U.S. sheltering in place and/or learning and working from our homes, it's hard to imagine that just 20 days ago, teachers and those aspiring to be teachers gathered together for the fourth annual Excellence in Education conference at the University of Dallas, organized, run and sponsored by UD's Education Department, but so they did, and so we will all do -- gather together, that is -- some day again.

+ Read More

Help Us Help UD Students Affected by COVID-19

Many of you have reached out to ask what you can do to help, and I am grateful for your generosity. In response, I have created the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund to immediately help UD students in this rapidly evolving situation.

+ Read More