Professor Emeritus of English
Department of English
Worcester, MA 01610-1477
|A.B., Cornell University, 1949
A.M., Boston University, 1950
Ph.D., Yale University, 1955
Current Research and Teaching
"As most teachers (and coaches) know, development and achievement are reciprocals. To adapt [Henry] James's famous declaration in 'The Art of Fiction' about 'character' and 'incident': What is development but the determination of achievement? What is achievement but the illustration of development?"
The young James Joyce is the subject of this observation, made in my most recent book, Joyce's Metamorphosis (2001). But it describes my central endeavor as a teacher, in lecture or recitation courses, as well as in seminars. I do my best to design work I ask of students so as to elicit intellectual stretching. A student must develop--stretch--in order to do assigned work in a way that satisfies her- or himself and the teacher (me). Such work can be designed into the most general courses I teach (for example, one in theories of literature and methodologies of literary study), and into the most specific (for example, a seminar devoted to the writing of one poet).
While my own scholarship gives (often critical) attention to theoretical doctrines, it tends to the concrete rather than the abstract. Even my examination of a number of today's competing theoretical formulations has proceeded by pointing to flaws in a theory's assumptions about the nature of language, or thought, or literature, or by demonstrating its inadequacy when applied to specific works/texts. My present project is a book of three kinds of historical studies of modernist literature, all of which avoid both the currently-fashionable "New Historicism" and traditional positivist, culturally-hegemonic, historiography.
1990: Eliot, Joyce & Company: Oxford University Press.
2001: Joyce's Metamorphosis. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.