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Pomona College Prof. Arden Reed Receives Guggenheim Fellowship

Arden Reed, the Arthur M. Dole and Fanny M. Dole Professor of English at Pomona College, has received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, for $38,000. The prestigious Fellowships are awarded to those who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts and show exceptional promise for future accomplishment.

What distinguishes the Guggenheim Fellowship program is the diversity of fellows selected from in 78 different fields, from the natural sciences to the creative arts. Past Fellows include scores of Nobel, Pulitzer, and other prize winners. Among them are Ansel Adams, Aaron Copland, Martha Graham, Langston Hughes, Henry Kissinger, Vladimir Nabokov, Isamu Noguchi, Linus Pauling, Philip Roth, Paul Samuelson, Wendy Wasserstein, Derek Walcott, James Watson, and Eudora Welty.

Reed, whose recent research has focused on issues relating to art and attentiveness, will use the grant to pursue his research on tableaux vivants, the old parlor game in which participants imitate famous works of art. In Southern California, Laguna’s annual Pageant of the Masters is the most well-known.

“The ultimate stakes of my study,” explains Reed, “are the matters of concentration, distraction and attentiveness… My [early] research has led to the surprising discovery that the great age of tableaux vivants is not the 19th century as scholars have assumed, but right now. So why, my study asks, are we fascinated to watch people stand still? And what larger cultural implications might this seemingly marginal art form hold? Tableaux vivants turn out to be an unlikely but efficient way to raise the deep questions that animate the book I am preparing, Slow Art: From Tableaux Vivants to James Turrell. The fellowship will allow him to conduct research in Paris, London, Berlin, New York, Flagstaff and Vancouver.

Reed’s expertise ranges from English romantic literature and 19th century French culture to contemporary art and image/text relations. He is the author of Constance DeJong: Metal (University of New Mexico Press, 2003) and Manet, Flaubert, and the Emergence of Modernism (The New Art History Series edition, Cambridge University Press, 2003) as well as numerous articles in professional journals.

A member of the Pomona College faculty since 1979, Reed teaches the courses Literature of the Romantic Period; Nature of Narrative in Fiction and Film; Reading Images; Queer Theories, Gay Fictions; Wordsworth & Proust: Advanced Seminar; and the art history course Manet, Degas, Cezanne. He earned his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University and his B.A. from Wesleyan University.