English professor’s book shortlisted for renowned Christian Gauss Award

George Hutchinson’s book, “Facing the Abyss,” has been shortlisted for the Christian Gauss Award of 2019, one of the major prizes for literary scholarship in any field. The Phi Beta Kappa Society, which confers the award, will announce the winning titles on October 1.

Hutchinson previously won the award in 2007, for his book “In Search of Nella Larsen: A Biography of the Color Line.”

The inaugural Gauss Award was given to M.H. Abrams, Class of 1916 Professor Emeritus, in 1954 for “The Mirror and the Lamp.” Two Cornell alumni have also received the award: Lawrence Buell ‘66 in 2004 and Harold Bloom ‘51 in 1989.

The Newton C. Farr Professor of American Culture and Director of the John S. Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines at Cornell, Hutchinson’s teaching and research focus on nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature.  His most recent book, a new edited edition of “Cane,” was published in January and selected as an Editors’ Choice of the New York Times Book Review; his other books include “The Harlem Renaissance in Black and White,” a finalist for the Rea Non-Fiction Prize; “The Ecstatic Whitman: Literary Shamanism and the Crisis of the Union”; Anita Thompson Reynolds’s previously unpublished memoir, “American Cocktail: A ‘Colored Girl’ in the World”’; “The Cambridge Companion to the Harlem Renaissance”; and the co-edited “Publishing Blackness: Textual Constructions of Race Since 1850.” Hutchinson has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future. 

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