Michael West

header image

Contact Information



CL 628H


Download CV

Michael West holds three degrees from Harvard but is sometimes worth listening to nonetheless. His teaching and research interests include: the Classical tradition; Renaissance culture; warfare and Christian heroism; mock-heroic, satire, and comic forms; puns; stylistics, rhetoric, andlinguistically oriented criticism; pedagogy; scholarly reviewing; evaluating scholarly journals; the short story; the American Renaissance; Irish literature, and comparative literature—with expertise on Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, Dryden, Thoreau and Joyce.

In addition to counseling students applying to graduate programs in literature, he often works with undergraduates competing in various prize essay competitions throughout the university and nationally.

Research and Publications

Among other honors his book on the American Romantics, Transcendental Wordplay: America’sRomantic Punsters and the Search for the Language of Nature (2000), won Phi Beta Kappa’snational Gauss Award of $2500 as that year's best work of literary scholarship and criticism on any topic. His seventy-odd articles range from Homer to Joyce, from Chaucer to Sherwood Anderson, from the European Renaissance to the American Renaissance, and he’s published verse translations from Latin and French in over a dozen literary quarterlies. For undergraduates he’s authored "Advice to Students Considering Graduate Work in English," which may be consulted in its most recently updated version at the website link, http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/12622/.


The Short Story in Context
Introduction to Shakespeare
Introduction to Critical Reading
Formative Masterpieces
Introduction to American Literature
American Literature to 1860
Renaissance in England
Advanced Shakespeare
The Roaring 20's
Irish Literature
The American Short Story 1820-1920
Work and Play in Literature
Thoreau and Frost

Service and Other Duties

Department Internship and Placement Committee
Advisor for Undergraduates Considering Graduate Work in Literature
Chair, Selection Committee, Phi Beta Kappa Xi of Pa

Transcendental Wordplay: America’s Romantic Punsters and the Search for the Lang
Michael West. Transcendental Wordplay: America’s Romantic Punsters and the Search for the Language of Nature. Ohio University Press, 2000