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Robert Habich


RB 339   Phone: 765-285-8407  

Department of English
Robert Bell Building (RB), Room 297
Ball State University
Muncie, IN 47306

I teach a wide range of courses at Ball State, from core curriculum classes to undergraduate and graduate courses in American literature, research methods, the American renaissance, and biography.

My teaching schedule and research agenda in many ways respond to questions of literary history, print and material culture, and constructions of biography and reputation. I have published four books--on Transcendental magazines, on literary Romanticism, on biography and documentary scholarship, and most recently on Emerson’s posthumous reputation and the effect of his earliest biographers on it. I have essays forthcoming in Emerson in Context (Cambridge University Press) and in the Oxford Bibliographies Online series (Oxford University Press). My latest project is to examine how authors’ reputations are constructed by the tourist industry in the public biographies created by literary house museums. That research has recently sent me to Maine and to Rye, England, where I’ve been studying the homes and lives of Sarah Orne Jewett and Henry James, and to Florence, Italy, where I presented a paper on Emerson and tourism.

Like my other research, this project is grounded in manuscripts, business records, and other archival material—even postcards and collectible author dolls!--and has taken me to libraries and historical societies here and abroad. (In the past few years I have been to Spain, Portugal, Italy, and several times to England.) Not only does this research credential me to teach at the university level; it also enlivens my teaching, I hope, by making me the active learner that I expect my students to be.

In addition to my teaching and research, I am past editor of the biannual journal Emerson Society Papers and President of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society.

Classes Taught:

  • Undergraduate - Reading Literature, American Literature I and II, Nineteenth-century American Literature, Literary History, Genre Studies, Studies in Authors, Senior Seminar
  • Graduate - Literary Research Methods, American Romanticism, Seminar in Literature, The Novel, Workshop in Literature

Areas of Specialization:

American literature to 1900, especially Emerson, Fuller, and the Transcendental writers; literary biography; textual studies and documentary editing; literary history

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