Professor of English
- Address: 335 English
- Telephone: 217-244-0922
- Email: email@example.com
Based on lectures I gave in Germany in 2011, I am writing two essays on the evolving predicament of biographical and autobiographical narrative, the verbal reconstruction of personal identity, in a context where the inscription and and collation of electronically-gathered data, on nearly every aspect of public and private life, poses an unprecedented challenge – an immense and ever-accumulating alternative biography, possibly accelerating beyond our own agency, as subjects and interpreters, to edit or escape. For the American Humor Studies Association, I am preparing a more-conventional essay called “Humor Studies, Humor Research,” which describes and differentiates these scholarly practices, addresses the habit of using these terms interchangeably, and advocates for a stronger relationship between our study of the comic and our broader critical and theoretical discourses. At the University of Rochester in Spring 2012 I gave a paper called “American Realism in the First Virtual Age,” describing how technological and aesthetic developments in the middle of the 19th century posed an ontological challenge for young American authors taking up the realist project.
- Printer's Devil: Mark Twain and the American Publishing Revolution . University of California Press, 2006.
- Literary Wit. University of Massachusetts Press , 2000.
- Mark Twain on the Loose: A Comic Writer and the American Self. University of Massachusetts Press , 1995.
- Wilbur's Poetry. University of Massachusetts Press , 1991.
- Teaching with the Norton Anthology of American Literature: A Guide for Instructors. WW Norton, 2007.