English major Annabel Barry ’19 has received a George J. Mitchell Scholarship, which funds American students of exceptional “academic distinction, leadership, and service” to pursue a year of graduate study in Ireland. Established in 2000 by the nonprofit US-Ireland Alliance, the Mitchell Scholarship is awarded to twelve students per year; this year saw a record application number of 370. Barry, who aspires to become an academic, will matriculate at University College Dublin next fall for an interdisciplinary MA in Philosophy and Literature.
As a senior in the Department of English, Barry is currently writing her thesis, a study of nineteenth-century English and Irish literary treatments of fever. Last summer, as a Princeton Bread Loaf Fellow at Oxford University, Barry began developing her thesis project through archival research at the Bodleian Library and at the Hampstead Keats House. Focusing on poetry and prose by Mary Wollstonecraft, John Keats, and William Carleton, Barry argues that “[t]he slipperiness of fever as a medical definition in this century leads to a slipperiness of fever as a cultural metaphor.”
Barry’s thesis adviser, Professor of English Susan Wolfson, praises her thesis as a “beautifully conceived and already dazzlingly developed” examination of “how fever acts as a deconstructive pressure on mind-body dualism: the life of the mind within the living body—a body subject to disease, to sexually differentiated treatment, to social and political regulation—and, reciprocally, how the physical body shapes this existential mind.” Wolfson also notes Barry’s recent “brilliant seminar paper on John Keats (destined for publication next year).”
Barry’s interest in Irish literature and culture extends beyond her thesis work. In the summer before her junior year, Barry wrote a collection of creative nonfiction based on her visits to communities on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Her junior paper focused on “works of contemporary Irish literature that critiqued the historical connection between Irish cartography and colonialism.”
At University College Dublin, Barry hopes to continue researching “the relationship between gender, landscape, mapping, and remapping in contemporary Irish literature.” She also plans to participate in UCD’s public-facing academic activities, including the Irish Humanities Institute’s Media, Encounter, Witness series, which produces “workshops, theatrical events, and podcast episodes exploring how the arts can bear witness to over a century of gender-based institutional abuse in Ireland.”
Barry’s most recent honor is her early induction into Princeton’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa on Nov. 27.