Premier's Prize for William Christie
20 May 2008
William Christie last night won the NSW Premier's Prize for Literary Scholarship for his biography of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the British Romantic poet, philosopher and political thinker.
Associate Professor Christie, an expert in British Romantic literature and culture based in the Department of English, said he was "delighted" to receive the award for his 2007 book, Samuel Taylor Coleridge: a Literary Life.
Coleridge, most famously known for his poems The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan, was a friend of William Wordsworth and one of the Lake Poets.
"It is remarkable that there is anything new to say about the canonical figure of Coleridge. But in this 'literary life' William Christie says it," the judges remarked. "[He] reveals the poet as a lively, humorous person, loved by many of his contemporaries.
"Christie places Coleridge's work within a precisely understood view of his society, with its emerging free enterprise, market oriented, literary culture and new non-elitist readership. In speaking out against crass commercialism, he is viewed as ahead of his time."
Accepting the award A/Professor Christie noted how important it was as a "scholar and a teacher at the University of Sydney to be able to share the interest and pleasure I take in literature with people outside the university — in schools, in Continuing Education, in Sydney's many literary societies, and amongst friends and acquaintances, some of whom are distinguished poets and novelists.
"Whatever the judges may have had in mind, I'd like to see in this award tonight confirmation of my determination to make literary scholarship available to as many people as possible, and of my conviction that those who write, and those who write about writing, have a common aim and share a common language."
He also gave thanks to his friend and colleague at the University of Sydney, Professor Margaret Harris, for her on-going support and for her encouragement to enter the book, published by Palgrave Macmillan Ltd, for a NSW Premier's Award.
Contact: Kath Kenny
Phone: 02 9351 2261 or 0434 606 100