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Professor at WMC is Conrad scholar Recipient Carpenter is an English teacher


Rebecca Carpenter, an English professor at Western Maryland College, has been named "the most promising young [Joseph] Conrad scholar" in the world.

Carpenter, 29, received the Prize for Younger Conradians from the Joseph Conrad Society of America for her devotion to studying the work of the British author, who wrote "Heart of Darkness," "Lord Jim" and other novels.

"I think [receiving this award] has helped me get known among Conrad scholars because I have gotten to be on the editorial board of Conradiana," a journal devoted to Conrad and his work, Carpenter said.

Carpenter was nominated by a Western Maryland College colleague, Ray Stevens, also an English professor and a member of the Joseph Conrad Society.

"I know her work to be excellent. She is simply one of the brightest young scholars it has been my pleasure to work with," Stevens said. "She has received recognition from her peers that she is outstanding, has great promise and has demonstrated it."

The award is bestowed upon one scholar each year, bringing no prizes other than the title. To receive the award, a recipient must be within one year of receiving his or her doctorate. Carpenter earned her doctorate in December 1995 from the University of California at Berkeley after completing her dissertation on representations of British women in anti-imperialist novels.

The award was presented at the annual Joseph Conrad Society dinner in December at the Modern Language Association Convention in Washington.

Carpenter said she studies Conrad because she finds his characters compelling with unusual problems.

"But [they're] problems we can understand," said Carpenter, who devoted a chapter of her dissertation, "A Kinder, Gentler Imperialism," to Conrad's exploration of the political dynamics of imperialism in his work. "I believe you are richly repaid every time you reread him," she said.

Carpenter is a graduate of Amherst College in Massachusetts, where she earned her bachelor's degree in English.

Carpenter has taught at WMC the past 18 months and specializes in 20th-century British literature, Colonial/post-Colonial literature and women's studies. She lives in Westminster.

Pub Date: 2/17/97

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