English prof’s book gains peer accolade

English Prof. Ian Balfour’s book, The Rhetoric of Romantic Prophecy, has been awarded honourable mention in the competition for the prestigious Harry Levin Prize. The American Comparative Literature Association granted the prize to the best book in comparative literary history published between 1999 and 2002.

The association bestows the Harry Levin and René Wellek prizes in alternate years. These prizes are considered the US’s most prestigious book awards in the discipline of comparative literature.

Balfour, left, director of York’s Graduate Program in English, was told: “The prize committee found that a surprising wealth of outstanding books had been submitted this year. Your book, the committee agreed, was one of the best.”

Here is the prize committee’s accolade:

“Ian Balfour’s The Rhetoric of Romantic Prophecy (Stanford University Press, 2002) brings to literary history the skills of close reading and a keenly philosophical consciousness. This study establishes the defining role of prophetic writing within the literary period that has done so much to define our critical modernity, and, in so doing, brings that period back to a reconsideration of its essential roots.”

The American Comparative Literature Association, founded in 1960, is the principal learned society in the United States for scholars whose work involves several literatures and cultures as well as the premises of cross-cultural literary study itself.