Former student awarded Princeton Fellowship

16 February 2023

Lewis Roberts (2017) has been awarded the prestigious Jane Eliza Procter Visiting Fellowship at Princeton University. Princeton offers only four Fellowships every year which are designed to give early-career scholars a chance to develop new skills and broaden their research. Previous recipients include computer scientist and mathematician Alan Turing and Magdalen Fellow Professor Robert Douglas-Fairhurst.

Lewis, who is a PhD candidate in English at St John’s College, Cambridge,  will use this time at Princeton to work on historical poetics, including a critical appraisal of this method for the study of poetic composition. They also hope to design a computer programme using Natural Language Processing to analyse the metrical and rhythmical properties of large numbers of poems.

I want to thank everyone who has shaped me as a scholar, but especially… Robert Douglas-Fairhurst .

Lewis Roberts

“I am amazed and grateful in equal measure to be awarded this Fellowship,” said Lewis. “For someone who has often worried about balancing academia with wider interests, it has been deeply moving to have community and artistic work recognised in this way.

“I want to thank everyone who has shaped me as a scholar, but especially Michael Hurley who constantly pushes me to expect more from myself, and Robert Douglas-Fairhurst who taught me how to meet those expectations. I would also like to thank Susan Wolfson and Meredith Martin at Princeton for their support.”

The Fellowship is awarded not only for academic achievement, but also in recognition of work in the wider community. Lewis leads the Governing Body of a school near Oxford, with responsibility for Safeguarding and children for whom English is an additional language. They also direct the Footlights comedy troupe, and have produced over a dozen shows across the UK. They have played the saxophone and sung in several ensembles, and they are an active political campaigner.

Lewis graduated with a BA and MSt from Magdalen College and has been supported by the Wolfson Postgraduate Scholarship in the Humanities, and the Senior Mackinnon Scholarship from Magdalen. Lewis has also been awarded grants or prizes from the British Association for Romantic Studies, St John’s College, Cambridge, and the Rothermere American Institute. Alongside their PhD, Lewis has expertise on the author and artist Simeon Solomon (1840-1905).