April 18, 2019  

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Stringer Earns Award from Modern Language Association

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Dr. Gary A. Stringer

Dr. Gary A. Stringer, a University of Southern Mississippi Professor Emeritus of English, was presented the 2017 Modern Language Association (MLA) Prize for a Scholarly Edition at the association’s annual convention in January in New York City.

Through his work with the internationally acclaimed Donne Variorum and The John Donne Society, Dr. Stringer has published yet another volume in his prestigious list of comprehensive publications on the collective works on John Donne, The Variorum Edition of the Poetry of John Donne, Volume 3: The Satyres (Indiana University Press, 2016) for which he has received the 12th MLA Prize for a Scholarly Edition.

The Satyres is one of seven volumes published with Dr. Stringer at the helm of the Donne Variorum project, with which he has worked for 33 years, and third in a series of eight volumes in the internationally acclaimed project. Donne, one of the most important figures in English poetry and a vital Renaissance figure, was not only the quintessential metaphysical poet, but the most popular poet in 17th-century England.

According to Dr. Stringer, Donne circulated his poetry in a unique manner, giving manuscript copies to friends and patrons, who would then copy them by hand and distribute them to others. This method of circulation meant virtually none of Donne’s original copies survived; only the personal copies of his contemporaries. Many of these copies were altered and revised to various degrees by both Donne and transcribers, resulting in numerous variants that were circulated. Due to these variations, Donne’s poems had not been properly edited until Donne Variorum scholars began their work. The Variorum Edition of the Poetry of John Donne is the result of the combined efforts of more than 30 scholars and more than 30 years of work.

Dr. Stringer joined the faculty at Southern Miss in 1972. He served as the Charles W. Moorman Alumni Distinguished Professor from 2002 to 2003, and taught at the university for 32 years before his retirement in 2004. He continued his work as a professor at universities in Texas and North Carolina. His work on this major project, however, will always be associated with USM.

Dr. Maureen Ryan, dean of the USM College of Arts & Letters and long-time friend and colleague of Dr. Stringer, noted his long service and many accomplishments to the university. “Gary Stringer was an important member of the USM faculty for many years. A dedicated teacher, he was also very active in university level service and a strong spokesperson for academic integrity and faculty rights,” Dr. Ryan said. “But always, his first love and priority were his expansive scholarly work on the Donne Variorum. We congratulate him on this national recognition.”  

For information about the Southern Miss Department of English, visit www.usm.edu/english.