A photo of a man wearing a button up shirt and sunglasses
Nicholas Frankel, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of English, will use the support of a Guggenheim fellowship to work on a book about the career of 19th-century polymath William Morris. (Contributed photo)

VCU English professor Nicholas Frankel honored with prestigious Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship for 2024

Known for his works on Oscar Wilde, Frankel is now developing a book about Victorian designer, writer and activist William Morris.

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Nicholas Frankel, an author and professor in Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of English in the College of Humanities and Sciences, has been named a 2024 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellow in support of his upcoming book about the diverse career of 19th-century polymath William Morris.

Frankel, Ph.D., has written and edited many books about the life and works of Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde. Frankel’s titles include “The Critical Writings of Oscar Wilde: An Annotated Selection” (2022), “The Invention of Oscar Wilde” (2021), “The Annotated Prison Writings of Oscar Wilde” (2018), “Oscar Wilde: The Unrepentant Years” (2017) and “The Picture of Dorian Gray: An Annotated, Uncensored Version” (2011).

“I am beyond thrilled,” Frankel said of the Guggenheim fellowship. “It’s a tremendous professional and personal honor, as well as an honor for VCU and its English department. I still can’t quite believe the company in which I suddenly find myself.”

Fellowships are awarded each year to a distinguished and diverse group of scholars and artists working across an array of disciplines. Since 1925, the Guggenheim Foundation has supported fellows engaged in humanities research or creation in the arts by providing a monetary stipend, enabling them to pursue independent work at the highest level “under the freest possible conditions.” This year, 188 fellows were appointed from a pool of nearly 3,000 applicants – Frankel’s designation was in the field of biography.

“During his illustrious career and publication of 11 books and editions, Dr. Frankel has established himself as one of the world’s leading experts on the life and work of Oscar Wilde,” said Catherine Ingrassia, Ph.D., dean of VCU’s College of Humanities and Sciences. “With this prestigious Guggenheim fellowship, a crowning achievement for any scholar in the humanities, he will use his prodigious interpretative skills to finish a book on the life and work of English designer and writer William Morris. I’m delighted that Dr. Frankel has received this well-deserved award and eager to read the new scholarship that emerges.”

During his fellowship, Frankel will be working on “Dreamer of Dreams: The Vision of William Morris.” The renowned Victorian scholar (1834-1896) had a career that spanned the fields of interior design, poetry, fiction, political activism, environmentalism, architectural conservation, innovative fine printing and publishing.