Merrill Scholars in Literary Research and Creative Writing

Merrill Scholars in Literary Research and Creative Writing offers rising seniors the opportunity to learn and practice the habits of thought and executive skills required to do advanced research in textual interpretation. Merrill Scholars will have evinced their dedication and scholarship through their work in English classes, world languages, philosophy and religion, and/or student publications. They take advantage of primary documents related to their chosen area of research that are available in local archives, including manuscripts and rare book collections.

The Merrill Scholar program gives Lawrentians the chance to see what true literary research and criticism looks like. First, students are required to engage both critically and creatively with their topics and to stretch themselves in new directions, in order to open their eyes to new possibilities. By reading a wealth of texts, applying critical theories, discovering historical and biographical influences, and collaborating with their peers the scholars then become experts in their fields. Finally, Merrill Scholars strive to gain a thorough understanding of what other scholars have said about a topic, and then, through deep research and collaboration, discover how to join that conversation.

The program includes a two-week summer session and additional coursework in the fall.

As part of the program, Scholars:

  • begin by casting a wide net into their interests and then, step by step, whittle down their research into a thesis that contributes to their respective scholarly sub-fields.
  • develop a 20-25 page research paper or joint creative and critical project.
  • take field trips to New York City and Princeton, working with librarians and archivists.
  • conduct readings of creative work in summer and fall, with poster sessions and display of final essays in November.