Full CV available here

My research interests focus on American literature, modernist studies, literary theory, and literature of the US South, with special attention to Faulkner.  I’ve written several books on Faulkner, including The Play of Faulkner’s Language (Cornell UP, 1982), which took a post-structuralist approach to his work, and William Faulkner: Seeing Through the South (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), a study of Faulkner’s imagining of Southern place—regional, hemispheric, and global—as a coherent, if shifting  project over the course of his career.  I continue to teach and write on Faulkner, with two edited volumes for Cambridge UP appearing in 2015 (William Faulkner in Context and The New Cambridge Companion to William Faulkner.

My most recent book examines the ways some prominent works of U.S. fiction represent the disavowal of national reliance on the racial capitalism of plantation economies.  Hidden in Plain Sight: Slave Capitalism in Poe, Hawthorne, and Joel Chandler Harris deals with nineteenth century writers, primarily Poe, Hawthorne, and Joel Chandler Harris, who reveal the habits of imagination that enabled the denial of forms of exploitation on which national prosperity was founded.  In essays on Willa Cather and Cormac McCarthy I take up instances of the ways later US fiction confronts cultural modes of disavowal in the post-plantation South. I’ve continued this line of inquiry in a recent piece on racial mourning in Faulkner and Jesmyn Ward.

The historical side of my research has led to regular interdisciplinary team-teaching with Prof. Nina Silber of Boston University’s Department of History.  We have taught undergraduate courses in Southern literature and modern American culture between the world wars, a graduate seminar in the US South in global context, and a first-year undergraduate seminar in the Kilachand Honors College on the historical contexts for representations of racial conflict in contemporary America.

I regularly teach courses in the modern American novel, Southern literature, literary theory, and modernist studies.


Selected Publications



Hidden in Plain Sight: Slave Capitalism in Poe, Hawthorne, and Joel Chandler Harris  The Lamar Memorial Lectures (U Georgia P, 2020)

  • The New Cambridge Companion to William Faulkner, Editor (Cambridge UP, 2015)
  • William Faulkner in Context, Editor (Cambridge UP, 2015)
  • William Faulkner: Seeing Through the South (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009)
  • A Companion to the Modern American Novel, Editor (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009)
  • The Sound and the Fury: Faulkner and the Lost Cause (Twayne, 1990)
  • The Play of Faulkner’s Language (Cornell UP, 1982)


“Slave Capitalism in Faulkner,” in Faulkner and Slavery (U P Mississippi, forthcoming)

“Faulkner’s Untimely Fiction,” in The Cambridge History of the Literature of the US South, ed. Harilaos Stecopoulos (Cambridge UP, forthcoming)

Heirs-at-Large: Precarity and Salvage in the Post-Plantation Souths of Faulkner and Jesmyn Ward,”  The Faulkner Journal (2018; published 2021)

“Financialization and Neoliberalism: A Snopes Genealogy,” in Faulkner and Money, eds.   Jay Watson and James G. Thomas, Jr. (U P Mississippi
2020): 59-77.


Honors, Grants, and Awards

  • NEH Senior Research Fellowship (1984–85, 1995–96)
  • Boston University Henderson Senior Research Fellowship (2006-7, 2014-15)
  • Fulbright Lectureship in American Studies, Charles University, Czech Republic (2010-11)
  • Boston University Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching (2006)
  • Founding Co-Editor, The Faulkner Journal (1986-present)
  • President, The Faulkner Society (2006–2009)
  • President, Society for the Study of Southern Literature (2014-2016)
  • Lamar Memorial Lectures in Southern Studies, Mercer University (2016)