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Professor in English Literature, University of Essex

Richard Gray began teaching at Essex in 1969. He has been Distinguished Visiting Professor at several universities in the United States, including Georgia and South Carolina. He is the author of The Literature of Memory: Modern Writers of the American South and Writing the South: Ideas of an American Region. The latter received the C. Hugh Holman Award from the Society for the Study of Southern Literature for the most distinguished book on the American South published in 1986.

His American Poetry of the Twentieth Century was published by Longman in 1990, and his critical and cultural biography of William Faulkner appeared in 1994. Southern Aberrations: Writers of the American South and the Problems of Regionalism was published in 2000 and was nominated for the Robert Penn Warren, Rene Wellek and Lillian Hellman awards.

His History of American Literature was published in 2004; a revised and updated edition was published in 2012. His book based on the Lamar Lectures of 2006, A Web of Words: The Great Dialogue of Southern Literature, was published in 2008. Richard has also edited Transatlantic Exchanges: Europe in the American South: the American South in Europe (2008) based on an international colloquium he organised in Vienna. In 2011, he published A Brief History of American Literature and After the Fall: American Literature Since 9/11. His latest book, A History of American Poetry, is scheduled for publication at the end of 2014.

Richard has also edited two anthologies of American poetry and collections of essays on American fiction and Robert Penn Warren. He has written a number of articles on American prose and poetry of the last two centuries, and has contributed essays to books on Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, the American South, and American Studies.

He is a regular reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement, The Times Higher Education Supplement, Notes and Queries, and the Modern Language Review, Editor of the Journal of American Studies and a Consulting Editor to American Literary History. He is the first specialist in American literature to be elected a Fellow of the British Academy.


  • –present
    Professor in English Literature, University of Essex


Fellow of the British Academy