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Chawton House Library Visiting Fellowships 2015-16 are now open

Published: 11 February 2015

We are pleased to announce that this year - in addition to our usual visiting fellowships - we are offering the named fellowships below supported by literary societies and individuals:

More detail about each follows the main advertisement. If you would like to apply for one of the named fellowships, please mark your application accordingly. If you are unsuccessful in this application, your application will then be considered in our general fellowship scheme.

Applications are invited for one-month Visiting Fellowships at Chawton House Library (CHL) to be taken up between October 2015 and the end of August 2016 (please note: no Visiting Fellowships will be awarded during December 2015 and January 2016).  Deadline for applications: 10 April 2015.  

All Fellows will be offered accommodation and space to work in the main Library building. They will also be given library rights at the University of Southampton, including access to both electronic and archival resources at the Hartley Library. 

Chawton House Library is an independent research library and study centre focusing on women's writing in English from 1600 to 1830. Accommodated in the Elizabethan manor house that once belonged to one of Jane Austen's brothers, in the village of Chawton in Hampshire, the library's main aim is to promote and facilitate study in the field of early women's writing. The magnificent library collection of early editions from the period is freely accessible to members of the public, while the Library also runs a programme of events and activities relating both to the historical house and the focus of the collection. For more information please see

The University of Southampton has particular strengths in the long eighteenth century. The Southampton Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies (SCECS) runs a successful interdisciplinary MA, and organizes seminars and conferences throughout the year. All visiting fellows will be encouraged to take part in SCECS activities, and will be invited to present short papers of their work in progress at an afternoon seminar during their time at CHL. For more information about SCECS, including the research interests of individual members, please see  For information about Special Collections at the Hartley Library, see

The aim of these Fellowships is to enable individuals to undertake significant research in the long eighteenth century. In keeping with the mission of CHL and the special qualities of the library's collection, projects that focus on women's writing or lives during the period are warmly welcomed. Any proposal, however, that promises significant research on the long eighteenth century will be given careful consideration. We would also welcome applications from groups of up to four scholars who wish to pursue a joint project while in residence.

The Fellowships would be of particular interest to members of university and college faculties on leave from their institutions, but we welcome applications from candidates at all stages of their academic careers, and actively encourage applications from independent scholars, as well as recent postdocs without permanent positions.  All Visiting Fellows would be expected to be in residence in Chawton for the duration of their fellowship, and will find the tranquillity of the location especially conducive to their work. 

We are unable to offer visiting fellowships to any scholar who has already held a Fellowship in the previous 3-year period, even if the proposed period in residence is for a new research project.

The British Association for Romantic Studies (BARS) Fellowship at Chawton House Library
Duration: Two Months

This fellowship, supported by BARS, will be awarded to a mid-career or senior scholar in Romantic Period Literature. Research into all areas of Romanticism will be considered, although the collections at Chawton House Library focus particularly on Romantic-period women's writing, and are especially strong in their holdings of female-authored fiction 1780-1830.

The successful applicant will be a member of BARS, and will deliver the inaugural BARS lecture at CHL while in residence.

The Vera Brittain/ Society of Women Writers and Journalists Fellowship
Duration: One month

Vera Brittain (1893-1970), writer, pacifist and memoirist, was an Honorary Life President of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists, which is supporting this fellowship in her memory. We welcome applications from women writers, journalists and independent scholars working on any aspect of women and warfare, in any historical period. 2015 sees some key anniversaries: the Battles of Agincourt (1415) and Waterloo (1815), and the ongoing centennial commemorations of the Great War (1914-1918). Although the collections at Chawton House Library will support research on the wars of the period 1660-1830 in particular, an application from any woman who needs time and space for writing and reflection will be carefully considered by the selecting committee.

The Marilyn Butler Fellowship
Duration: One month
Professor Marilyn Butler (1937-2014), leading scholar of English literature, and latterly Rector of Exeter College, was the author of paradigm-shifting books and articles, and a patron of Chawton House Library. Her research set up new directions in literary criticism of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and her editions of women writers from Maria Edgeworth to Mary Wollstonecraft enabled subsequent generations of scholars to access these important texts in newly fruitful ways. In the fortieth anniversary of the first publication of Butler's Jane Austen and the War of Ideas (1975), we invite applications from scholars at any stage of their research careers to apply for this fellowship in her memory. Priority will be given to those researching Maria Edgeworth and her female contemporaries, and to work inspired by Butler’s own research.  

The Hester Davenport/Burney Society Fellowship
Duration: One month

Hester Davenport (1936-2013), independent scholar and biographer, was the author of important and influential work on Frances Burney and Mary Robinson, including Faithful Handmaid: Fanny Burney at the Court of George III (2000) and The Prince’s Mistress: A Life of Mary Robinson (2004). This fellowship, supported by the Burney Societies of the UK and North America in her memory, will be awarded in preference for work on the Burney family and their circle, broadly defined. Preference will be given to an independent scholar, but the selecting committee will consider all eligible applications carefully.

The Jane Austen Society of Japan Fellowship
Duration: One month

The Jane Austen Society of Japan focuses on the studies of the works of Jane Austen and on the literature and culture of her period. It celebrates its tenth anniversary in June 2016, and to celebrate the occasion welcomes applications for this fellowship from members of the Society. The successful candidate will be working on a project on Jane Austen or on any aspect of British literature and culture of the long eighteenth century.

The Yablon Fellowship for Brontë Studies
Duration: One month

2016 sees the bicentenary of the birth of Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855), the eldest of the writing dynasty that changed the landscape of the nineteenth-century English novel. Chawton House Library is home to an excellent collection of rare early nineteenth-century novels, and an extensive collection of secondary material and printed ephemera donated by Tony Yablon on the Brontës’ lives and works. We welcome applications from any scholar or writer working on a project that will make use of this material.

How to Apply

Please email the following documents:

  • A one-page covering letter, giving full contact details, and stating clearly the desired month(s) of residence, and the fellowship applied for.
  • A proposal for the work you intend to carry out as a Visiting Fellow - to be no more than two pages in length and typed in double line spacing.
  • Your CV - to be no more than three pages in length.
  • One confidential letter of recommendation to be emailed separately by the referee before the deadline.

The documents should be sent to:

Sandy White, English Department
University of Southampton

Documents should arrive no later than 10 April 2015.   Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.

All applicants will be advised of the outcome of their application by the end of June 2015.

The scheme is run on behalf of Chawton House Library and the University of Southampton. The selecting committee is made up of colleagues from both institutions.

The Library catalogue is online and can be accessed via the library website

Visiting Fellows will be expected to donate a copy of the manuscript or published work resulting from their stay at Chawton House Library to the Library collection, and will be invited to submit a short article to be considered for publication in the Library newsletter, The Female Spectator.

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