Literary scholar and University alum Jeffrey Miller ’06 was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, informally known as a “Genius Grant,“ on Sept. 25 for his analyses of the writing process during the Reformation and the Renaissance.
Alongside the honor, Miller will be receiving a grant for $625,000, given over five years, on behalf of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Miller graduated from the University in 2006, with an A.B. from the Department of English. He went on to receive a MSt in 2007 and DPhil in 2012 from the University of Oxford.
Dr. Miller currently holds the title of Associate Professor in the Department of English at Montclair State University. He joined the faculty at Montclair, located in New Jersey, in 2012.
“It still doesn’t quite feel real that I’ve been awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, and I’m sure it doesn’t yet (or likely ever will) feel justified!” Miller wrote in an email to The Daily Princetonian. “But I’m obviously extremely honored, and one of the best aspects of it is the way it brings powerfully to mind all the people who have inspired and helped me over the years.”
Miller’s studies focus on the works of John Milton and other writers from the time period. His use of Milton’s manuscripts, notes, and unpublished work to better understand Milton’s writing processes is innovative.
Miller also used his understanding of Renaissance writing processes to identify a notebook with a series of lists and phrases as the currently earliest known draft of the King James Bible.
Miller’s analysis of the notebook, belonging to Samuel Ward, a translator of the King James Bible, is expected to bring better understanding of the translating practices that were used at the time. The analysis is currently still in progress.
In describing Jeffrey Miller’s work, the MacArthur Foundation wrote that his “expansive view of the writing process and of what constitutes a draft manuscript are changing our understanding of seminal works at the foundation of modern Christianity, philosophy, and literature.”
Miller explained that receiving the award “has meant thinking a lot about so many of my professors and fellow students from my time at Princeton, each of whom shaped and encouraged me in ways too numerous to record.”
“I’m very lucky to have had the experience I did at Princeton, and very grateful,” Miller wrote.