Amanda Sigler

Context Matters: Graduate Student Examines Novels Published First in Magazines

Amanda Sigler (Graduate Arts & Sciences ’10)

Amanda Sigler’s love affair with James Joyce began on a spring afternoon in 2001 as she read through materials used by Richard Ellmann in his 1959 biography of Joyce.

She had plenty to read as an undergraduate at the University of Tulsa, which has published the James Joyce Quarterly since 1963 and holds more than 100 boxes of Ellmann’s materials.

Captivated by the biographer’s letters, she became increasingly fascinated by Joyce. Now a doctoral candidate in English literature at U.Va., Ms. Sigler has focused her studies on Joyce and the modern period, 1850 to 1950.

“I like the daring of the modernist authors,” Ms. Sigler said. “Their works revolutionized literature and scandalized society.” In her dissertation, she looks at novels that were serialized in magazines before being published as books. She is interested in how other articles and visual images in the magazines—such as ads, illustrations, and photos—affected the public’s perception of the serialized novels.

For a graduate student, Ms. Sigler has compiled an impressive list of publications and academic papers. She has published articles on James Joyce and Henry James in peer-reviewed journals and last summer presented two papers on Joyce at conferences in France and Switzerland.

The caliber of her scholarship has garnered numerous kudos, including a fellowship from the Trieste Joyce School and an Award for Excellence in Scholarship from the University. Equally at home in archives and at academic conferences, Ms. Sigler also loves to teach. This spring, undergraduate students nominated her for an award from the Seven Society, which recognized her enthusiasm and creativity in the classroom.

Ms. Sigler is grateful for the financial support she has received from several University funds, which have not only made possible her travel for research and conferences, but also covered her academic and living costs while on Grounds. The English department recommended her for the Award for Excellence in Scholarship, which is administered by the Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, and for the Majuel Ewing Fellowship, whose recipients are chosen by the English Department’s graduate faculty. She also received one of about forty Presidential Fellowships for outstanding graduate students from the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.

The fellowship, which provided five years of support, including a living stipend plus tuition and fees, required her to teach four of the five years. She plans to stay and teach at the University in her sixth year, while completing her dissertation. “I’m very grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to enrich my own research and bring back to the University all I’ve learned from conferences,” she said. “I love to share the knowledge I have and infuse other students with a love of learning.”