Michael West

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Contact Information



CL 628H


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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; Christian heroism; mock-heroic, satire, and comic forms; puns; stylistics, rhetoric, and linguistically oriented criticism; pedagogy; the short story; the American Renaissance; Irish 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 hroughout the university and nationally.

Research and Publications

His book on the American Romantics, Transcendental Wordplay (2000), won the national Christian Gauss Award of $2500 as that year's best work of literary scholarship and criticism on any topic. For undergraduates he has authored "Advice to Students Considering Graduate Work in English," which may be consulted at the website link, http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/12622/.


Undergraduate Courses
Advanced Shakespeare
Irish Literature

Renaissance in England
Formative Masterpieces
American Literature to 1860
The Roaring 20's
The Short Story
Introduction to Critical Reading

Service and Other Duties

Advisor for Undergraduates Considering Graduate Work in Literature
Co-Chair, Selection Committee Phi Beta Kappa
Faculty Senate University Press committee

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