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Frakes named Guggenheim fellow


Published April 19, 2013

Jerold Frakes

Jerold C. Frakes, professor of English and a highly regarded scholar of medieval literatures, has received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship for the 2013-14 academic year to support his study of the emergence of early Yiddish literature.

Guggenheim fellowships, often are characterized as “mid-career” awards, are intended for men and women who already have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.

Frakes is one of 175 scholars, artists and scientists in 56 disciplines to receive a Guggenheim fellowship this year; all were chosen after a rigorous selection process from a pool of almost 3,000 applicants. It is a class that Edward Hirsch, president of the foundation, says represents “the best of the best.”

Frakes also has received three other prestigious fellowships for the 2013-14 academic year. They are:

  • A fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. This extremely competitive program, which selects fewer than 5 percent of applicants, supports outstanding research projects in numerous disciplines.
  • A National Humanities Center fellowship.
  • A fellowship from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences), Paris, a leading French public institution for research and higher education whose faculty includes many of France’s greatest humanities scholars.

Frakes is a scholar of medieval European literatures who joined the UB faculty in 2006 after many years as a professor of German and comparative literature at the University of Southern California.  

He is the author of four books about the literature of medieval and early modern Europe, most recently “Brides and Doom: Gender, Property Rights and Power in Medieval German Women’s Epic” and “Vernacular and Latin Literary Discourses of the Muslim Other in Medieval Germany.”

He has edited or translated nine other books, including several on Yiddish literature, and has given many invited lectures and conference papers. Frakes has served on the editorial boards of several journals and as editor of the Yiddish Literature Division of the “Encyclopaedia Judaica, second edition,” published in 2006. He has authored scores of essays, book reviews and articles in peer-reviewed journals.

He has received a number of other distinguished awards, grants and fellowships over the course of his career, notably a National Endowment for the Arts research fellowship and two fellowships from Germany’s Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.