Professor Emeritus of English, Lineberger Professor in the Humanities.
Much of my work has been in the areas of American (and southern) literary and intellectual history and biography—including The Silencing of Emily Mullen and Other Essays (LSU Press, 2005), But Now I See: The White Southern Racial Conversion Narrative (LSU Press, 2000), Mencken: A Life (Random House, 1994), The Southern Writer in the Postmodern World (U. Georgia Press, 1991), Tell About the South: The Southern Rage to Explain (LSU Press, 1984), Serpent in Eden: H. L. Mencken and the South (UNC Press, 1974), and a number of edited books. I have contributed essays and reviews in these areas to The Atlantic, The New York Times Book Review, The Times Literary Supplement, The Sewanee Review, The Southern Review, the Virginia Quarterly Review, American Literature, and other publications. I have also written books and essays in various other areas, including sports (Off the Rim: Basketball and Other Religions in a Carolina Childhood – U. Missouri Press, 2006). Currently I am working on a study (under contract with Oxford UP), “The Savage South: History of an Image.”