Professor Cave was cited ‘for his outstanding contributions to a new understanding of Renaissance literature and of the influence of Aristotelian poetics in modern European literature’.

His Balzan project, which is directed from the St John’s College Research Centre and runs for three years from October 2010, is entitled ‘Literature as an Object of Knowledge’. The primary aim of the project is to explore the value of literature itself as an object, vehicle and instrument of knowledge, and more specifically the cognitive value of literature in relation to other kinds of discourse.

It will seek to encourage specialised individual research programmes that fall within this perspective, in particular research that illuminates or foregrounds the place of literary study in the interdisciplinary spectrum. It will also organise workshops and discussion groups in which those interdisciplinary issues will be collectively explored and debated with the cooperation of colleagues from nonliterary disciplines. The twin themes of knowledge and cognition will provide a focus for discussion: the word ‘cognitive’ is used differently in different disciplines, but it nevertheless signals a set of common concerns.

There are two principal sub-themes: (i) historical approaches to literature as an object, vehicle and instrument of knowledge (with particular reference to the early modern period); (ii) cognitive approaches to literature.

My college tutor, the ineffably brilliant Professor Terence Cave, is awarded one of four annual Balzan Prizes (2009).

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