Robert Dale Parker

Frank Hodgins Professor of English,American Indian Studies,Criticism and Interpretive Theory, and Writing Studies


Ph.D. in English, Yale University. A.B. in English and History, Brown University.

Research Interests

American literature, especially fiction and poetry, especially after 1900. Critical theory. American Indian literature. Interested in bringing historicist, socio-cultural criticism together with formalist criticism.


American Indian Studies, American, early, Fiction, Gender/Sexuality Studies, American, later, Poetry, Post-Colonial, Theory & Criticism

Work(s) in Progress

A book about the representation of extreme poverty in American literature of the Great Depression


Robert Dale Parker writes about American literature and critical theory, especially poetry and fiction. His scholarship and teaching pursue interests in literary form and aesthetics, history, gender, the socio-political roles of literature, and a pleasure in thinking through critical theory. Parker has published two books and many articles on the fiction of William Faulkner, including Faulkner and the Novelistic Imagination (1985) and “Absalom, Absalom!”: The Questioning of Fictions (1991), as well as The Unbeliever: The Poetry of Elizabeth Bishop (1988) and The Invention of Native American Literature (2003), a critical and theoretical study of the emergence of Indian literature and Indian literary studies across the twentieth century. He has also undertaken a large-scale recovery of early American Indian poetry, leading to a series of articles and two books: Changing Is Not Vanishing: A Collection of American Indian Poetry to 1930 (2011) and The Sound the Stars Make Rushing through the Sky: The Writings of Jane Johnston Schoolcraft (2007), which includes an edition of the works of the first-known American Indian literary writer along with a biography and cultural history. Committed to merging scholarship with readability and theory with interpretation, he has also published How to Interpret Literature: Critical Theory for Literary and Cultural Studies (3rd ed. 2015, 4th edition scheduled for fall 2019) and Critical Theory: A Reader for Literary and Cultural Studies, 2012. Recognized by campus awards for both undergraduate and graduate teaching, Parker has taught courses in the various periods of American literature, especially after 1900, as well as critical theory surveys and courses in American Indian literature, Faulkner, and other topics.

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