511 McClung Tower
My research focuses primarily on twentieth-century American literature (especially the novel), with strong emphases in the relationship between religion and literature and in Southern literature. I also work in the field of literary theory and have particular interests in the disciplinary overlaps among literary study, history, and aesthetics. My books include Hard Sayings: The Rhetoric of Christian Orthodoxy in Late Modern Fiction (Ohio State UP, 2013), The Limits of Literary Historicism (co-edited with Allen Dunn, U of Tennessee P, 2011), and Fears and Fascinations: Representing Catholicism in the American South (Fordham UP, 2005). I am currently at work on a book project with the working title Toward a Narrative Theory of Grace.”
Recent courses that I have taught include ENGL 341 (Religion and Spirituality in American Literature); ENGL 441 (Southern Literature); ENGL 690 (Special Topics: What We Talk about When We Talk about Historicism); ENGL 436 (Modern American Novel); and several sections of ENGL 482, the department’s Major Authors course (Flannery O’Connor and Muriel Spark, William Faulkner, and Eudora Welty and Richard Wright).
- B.A., Tulane University
- M.A., University of Kent (England)
- M.A., Ph.D. Vanderbilt University
- Hard Sayings: The Rhetoric of Christian Orthodoxy in Late Modern Fiction. The Ohio State University Press, 2013.
- The Limits of Literary Historicism (co-edited with Allen Dunn). University of Tennessee Press, 2011.
- Editor, “The South and the Sublime,” a special issue of The Southern Quarterly, 48 (Spring 2011).
- Fears and Fascinations: Representing Catholicism in the American South. Fordham University Press, 2005.
- “Diachronicity, Episodicity, and the Aesthetic of Historicist Criticism.” Forthcoming in Philosophy and Literature.
- “‘Lingering’ and ‘Incurable’: Flannery O’Connor’s Humor and the Game of Status in ‘Good Country People.’” Women’s Studies 51.4 (2022): 457-69.
- “‘At the Present Time’: Christian Literary Scholars in the Last Days of Liberalism.” Christianity and Literature 70 (September 2021): 293-302.
- “Legitimation and Limits in English Studies: The Pedagogies of Stanley Fish and Jacques Rancière.” South Atlantic Review 85 (Fall 2020): 37-52.
- “Unmaking Generations: On Gayl Jones’s Corregidora and the Pastness of the Past.” Twentieth-Century Literature 64 (September 2018): 275-94.
- “Between History and Aesthetics: Dirt and Desire in Dialogue with Affect Theory and Paul Ricoeur.” south: a scholarly journal 2 (Spring 2016): 192-211.
- Myth as Therapy in Lee Smith’s Oral History.” Mississippi Quarterly 68 (Winter-Spring 2015): 257-75.
- “Lillian Smith, Cold War Intellectual.” Southern Literary Journal 44 (Spring 2012): 51-68.
- “On Belief, Conflict, and Universality: Flannery O’Connor, Walter Benn Michaels, Slavoj Zizek.” In Flannery O’Connor in the Age of Terrorism, eds. Robert Donahoo and Avis Hewitt. University of Tennessee Press, 2010. 231-39.
- “Religion for ‘Really Intelligent People’: The Rhetoric of Muriel Spark’s Reality and Dreams.” Religion and Literature 41 (Autumn 2009): 43-66.
- Review of Farrell O’Gorman, Catholicism and American Borders in the Gothic Literary Imagination. The Flannery O’Connor Review. 17 (2019): 196-98.
- Review of Critical Insights: Short Fiction of Flannery O’Connor, ed. Robert C. Evans. The Flannery O’Connor Review 15 (2017): 122-24
- Review of Cosmic Defiance: Updike’s Kierkegaard and the Maples Stories by David Crowe. Religion and Literature 48 (Autumn 2016): 169-72.
- Review of A Lillian Smith Reader, eds. Margaret Rose Gladney and Lisa Hodgens. American Literary History Online Review, Series X (2017).
- Review of Bryan Giemza, Irish Catholic Writers and the Invention of the American South. The Flannery O’Connor Review 12 (2014): 133-35.
- Review of Peggy Whitman Prenshaw, Composing Selves: Southern Women and Autobiography. Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature 32.1 (Spring 2013): 239-41.
- Review of Wendy Piper, Misfits and Marble Fauns: Religion and Romance in Hawthorne and O’Connor. Cheers! The Flannery O’Connor Society Newsletter 18 (Fall 2011): 5-7.
- Review of Steven R. Watkins, Flannery O’Connor and Teilhard de Chardin: A Journey Together Towards Hope and Understanding About Life. The Flannery O’Connor Review 8 (2010): 152-54.
- “Audacious Performances,” review-essay of Resisting History: Gender, Modernity, and Authorship in William Faulkner, Zora Neale Hurston, and Eudora Welty by Barbara Ladd. Mississippi Quarterly 60 (Summer 2007): 605-10.
- Review of Flannery O’Connor and the Christ-Haunted South, Ralph C. Wood. Mississippi Quarterly 58 (Spring 2005): 418-22
- Review of A Singular Modernity: On the Ontology of the Present by Fredric Jameson, Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal 86 (Fall/Winter 2003): 563-69
- “Repeating a Difference: New Readings of the Quixotic and the Religious in Southern Literature,” review essay of Struggles Over the Word: Race and Religion in Faulkner, O’Connor, Hurston, and Wright by Timothy P. Caron, The Southern Inheritors of Don Quixote by Montserrat Ginés, and Walker Percy’s Sacramental Landscapes: The Search in the Desert by Allen Pridgen, Mississippi Quarterly 55 (Winter 2001/02): 133-40.
- Editorial Advisory Board, The Flannery O’Connor Review
- Advisory Board, Religion and Literature
- Executive Council, Society for the Study of Southern Literature, 2015-2017
Awards, Honors & Grants
- Best Faculty Mentor Inside the Classroom, Graduate Students in English, 2021
- Andrew J. Kappel Prize in Literary Criticism, 2018, for “Unmaking Generations: On Gayl Jones’s Corregidora and the Pastness of the Past.”
- Lindsay Young Professor, 2017-2021
- John C. Hodges Award for Teaching Excellence, 2003
- British Marshall Scholar, 1994-1996