Mary Henry and de Saussure Davis Edmunds Professor of English
Office location: Neville Hall 211
Office phone: 864.833.8445
BA, Wofford College
MA, University of South Carolina
PhD, Vanderbilt University
Joined PC in 1988
Courses taught: Survey of American Literature I, American Renaissance, Southern Literature, Appalachian Literature, Silent Film, Film Noir
I chose education after reading Pat Conroy’s The Water is Wide during my sophomore year at Wofford College; and while our Admissions Office may kill me for saying this, I came to PC in 1988 because I went to Wofford. But it’s true: the ideal of a small, church-related, liberal-arts college kept me going through long years of graduate school. Shortly after finishing my doctoral work at Vanderbilt University, I visited Clinton, fell under the spell of the PC campus and family, and have been teaching on the front steps of Neville Hall ever since.
Don’t ask which course is my favorite. I love covering Southern Literature, as well as supporting my colleague Dr. Molly McGehee in championing the Southern Studies minor. But American Literature I, spanning the grand tradition of American ideals and identity from 1607 until 1865, is a joy as well. Teaching Literary Oxford under the shade trees of Corpus Christi College during the PC-at-Oxford Programme, followed by a walk along the Thames behind Christ Church meadow, has been the stuff of dreams. Silent Film, however, just might be my baby. The critic Pauline Kael once said that there is nothing like that moment when the lights go down and all our hopes are focused on the silver screen lighting up before us. That’s so true of silent film, which can provide the most pure cinematic experience we’ll ever know. Don’t believe me? Take the course and find out.
On a personal note, I love music (early country, bluegrass, swing, big band, chamber, and opera) and all things baseball. If reincarnation’s a fact, I’d like to be a shortstop for the Braves next time around.