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Faulkner in the Twenty-first Century
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Robert W. Hamblin
Robert W. Hamblin

Robert W. Hamblin

Robert Wayne Hamblin is Professor of English and Director of the Center for Faulkner Studies at Southeast Missouri State University, where he has taught since 1965. During his career as teacher, scholar, and writer, his writings have included both creative writings and nonfiction essays, but he is perhaps best known for his published work on the fiction of William Faulkner, which includes a scholarly journal and several volumes containing miscellaneous writings by and memorabilia about Faulkner.

Hamblin was born on November 5, 1938, in Jericho (Union County), Mississippi, and spent his boyhood years at nearby Brice’s Cross Roads, or Bethany, where his father and mother owned and operated a general store just across the road from the park and monument marking the site of the famous Civil War battle in which General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederate cavalry unit ambushed and routed superior Union forces under the command of General Samuel Sturgis. Hamblin attended public schools in Baldwyn until 1954, when his family moved to Booneville; two years later he was graduated from Booneville High School.

Hamblin attended college at Northeast Mississippi Community College in Booneville and Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, earning his bachelor’s degree in English education from the latter in 1960. Subsequently he earned his master’s (1965) and doctoral (1976) degrees in English, both from the University of Mississippi in Oxford, where he specialized in the works of William Faulkner under the direction of Professor John Pilkington.

Hamblin started his teaching career as a high school English teacher and baseball coach at Sparrows Point High School in Baltimore County, Maryland. One of the players he coached was Ron Swoboda, whom (Hamblin claims) he taught to make diving catches like the one Swoboda made to save game four of the 1969 World Series for the New York Mets.

Hamblin was a graduate student at Ole Miss during the first days of desegregation. As a member of the Mississippi National Guard federalized by President Kennedy, he was a witness to the riot that occurred on the eve of James Meredith’s enrollment in the university. Three years later Hamblin witnessed another racial confrontation at Ole Miss, the one that accompanied the participation by a bi-racial delegation from Tougaloo College in the Southern Literary Festival. Hamblin has described these events in two essays: “Monuments and Roads: One White Southerner’s Education in Civil Rights” and “The 1965 Southern Literary Festival: A Microcosm of the Civil Rights Movement.”

In 1978 Hamblin met Louis Daniel Brodsky, the noted Faulkner collector from St. Louis. Since that time the two men have worked together to produce books, articles, and public lectures based on the materials in the Brodsky Collection — most notably Faulkner: A Comprehensive Guide to the Brodsky Collection (5 vols., UP of Mississippi, 1982-88). Hamblin and Brodsky have edited four of Faulkner’s screenplays: The De Gaulle Story, Battle Cry, Country Lawyer, and Stallion Road. In 1989 Southeast Missouri State University acquired the Brodsky Collection and created its Center for Faulkner Studies. Hamblin has been the director of the Center since its inception.

Hamblin has taught Faulkner seminars for both the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Missouri Humanities Council. A frequent presenter at the annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference at the University of Mississippi, he is one of the originators of the “Teaching Faulkner” sessions at that conference and edits Teaching Faulkner, a newsletter devoted to the teaching of Faulkner works in university, college, and high school classes. He is the coeditor (with Charles A. Peek, University of Nebraska at Kearney) of A William Faulkner Encyclopedia (Greenwood Press, 1999) and A Companion to Faulkner Studies (Greenwood Press, 2004).  He has also coedited Teaching Faulkner: Approaches and Methods (with Stephen Hahn, William Paterson University; Greenwood Press, 2000); Faulkner in the Twenty-First Century (with Ann J. Abadie, University of Mississippi; UP of Mississippi, 2003); Critical Companion to William Faulkner (with A. Nicholas Fargnoli, Molloy University, and Michael Golay, Phillips Exeter Academy; Facts on File, 2008); and Faulkner and Twain (with Melanie Speight, Ste. Genevieve High School; Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2009).

Hamblin has presented Faulkner seminars and lectures in England, the Netherlands, Japan, China, and Taiwan, as well as throughout the United States.  In 2005 he led the online discussion of As I Lay Dying for the Oprah Book Club during Oprah Winfrey’s “Summer of Faulkner.”

In addition to his Faulkner work, Hamblin has published five volumes of poems—Perpendicular Rain (1986); From the Ground Up (1992); Mind the Gap: Poems by an American in London (2003); Keeping Score: Sports Poems for Every Season (2008); and Crossroads: Poems of a Mississippi Childhood (2010); two personal memoirs—Bless You, My Father (2006) and This House, This Town: One Couple’s Love Affair with An Old House and a Historic Town (2010); a sports biography, Win or Win: A Season with Ron Shumate (1993); and critical treatments of Robert Penn Warren, William Carlos Williams, Pat Conroy, W.P. Kinsella, Willie Morris, Isaac Singer, John Faulkner, and Evans Harrington.

Hamblin has served since 1969 as poetry editor of The Cape Rock, a little magazine of poetry, and was the poetry editor of Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature from 1984 until 2005.

Hamblin has received a number of honors and awards, including a Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Missouri Library Association’s Literary Award, the PRIDE award from Southeast Missouri State University, the Halsell Prize from the Mississippi Historical Society, and research grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Missouri Humanities Council.

Updated 7 October 2010

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Brice's Cross Roads Battlefield monument
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Hamblin edits or co-edits the following periodical publications: Teaching Faulkner newsletter

Publications

Nonfiction:

  • (edited with Louis Daniel Brodsky) Selections from the William Faulkner Collection of Louis Daniel Brodsky. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia,1979.
  • (with Louis Daniel Brodsky) William Faulkner: A Perspective from the Brodsky Collection. Cape Girardeau: Southeast Missouri State University, 1979.
  • (edited with Louis Daniel Brodsky) Faulkner: A Comprehensive Guide to the Brodsky Collection. 5 vols. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1982-1988.
    • Volume I: The Biobibliography, 1982.
    • Volume II: The Letters, 1984.
    • Volume III: The De Gaulle Story, 1984.
    • Volume IV: Battle Cry, 1985.
    • Volume V: Manuscripts and Documents, 1988.
  • (with Louis Daniel Brodsky) Faulkner and Hollywood: A Retrospective from the Brodsky Collection. Cape Girardeau: Southeast Missouri State University, 1984.
  • (edited with Louis Daniel Brodsky) Country Lawyer and Other Stories for the Screen, by William Faulkner. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1987.
  • (with Louis Daniel Brodsky) The Brodsky Faulkner Collection, 1959-1989: The Collector’s 101 Favorites. Southeast Missouri State University: The Center for Faulkner Studies, 1989.
  • (edited with Louis Daniel Brodsky) Stallion Road: A Screenplay by William Faulkner. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1989.
  • Win or Win: A Season with Ron Shumate. Cape Girardeau: Southeast Missouri University Foundation, 1992.
  • “No Such Thing As Was”: William Faulkner and Southern History. Cape Girardeau, Missouri: Center for Faulkner Studies, 1994.
  • (edited with Charles A. Peek.) A William Faulkner Encyclopedia. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999.
  • (edited with Stephen Hahn)  Teaching Faulkner: Approaches and Methods. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2000.
  • (edited with Ann J. Abadie.) Faulkner in the Twenty-first Century. Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha 2000. Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 2003.
  • (edited with Charles A. Peek) A Companion to Faulkner Studies.  Westport, CT:Greenwood Press, 2004).
  • Bless You, My Father. Privately issued, 2006.
  •  (with Michael Lund) “About a Little Girl”: A William Carlos Williams Poem and Its Legacy.  Cape Girardeau: Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2008.
  •  (edited with A. Nicholas Fargnoli and Michael Golay) Critical Companion to William Faulkner: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work. New York: Facts on File, 2008.
  • (edited with Melanie Speight) Faulkner and Twain. Cape Girardeau: Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2009.
  • This House, This Town: One Couple’s Love Affair with an Old House and a Historic Town.  Cape Girardeau: Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2010.

Poetry:

  • Perpendicular Rain (chapbook). Cape Girardeau: Southeast Missouri State University, 1986.
  • From the Ground Up: Poems of One Southerner’s Passage to Adulthood. St. Louis: Time Being Books, 1992.
  • Mind the Gap: Poems by an American in London.  Cape Girardeau: Southeast Missouri State UP, 2003
  • Keeping Score: Sports Poems for Every Season.  St. Louis: Time Being Books, 2008.
  • Crossroads: Poems of a Mississippi Childhood.  St. Louis: Time Being Books, 2010.

Selected Shorter Publications: Fiction and Poetry:

  • “Always Before Joy.” Cape Rock, 36 (Spring 2004): 41.
  • “Autumn at Woodland Hills Country Club” (poem). Cape Rock 15 (Summer 1980): 49.
  • “Basketball Suite.” Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature, 22 (Spring 2003): 139-143.
  • “Big Apple” (poem). Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature 8 (Spring 1991): 92.
  • “The Day Baseball Was Banned at Brice’s Crossroads” (story). Elysian Fields Quarterly 11 (Hot Stove Issue 1992): 23-28.
  • “Dream Weaver.” Contemporary American Voices: A  Journal of Poetry (online), November 2007.
  • “For Dal, on the Fourth of July” (poem). Spitball: The Literary Baseball Magazine no. 42 (Fall 1992): 44-45.
  • “Groundskeepers: Opening Day” (poem). Elysian Fields Quarterly 12 (Opening Day Issue 1993): 42.
  • “Mr. October” (poem). Elysian Fields Quarterly 13 (Winter 1994): 34.
  • “Nevertheless.”  Big Muddy 6.2 (2006): 120.  
  • “On the Death of the Evansville University Basketball Team in a Plane Crash” (poem). Cape Rock 17 (Summer 1982): 40. Reprinted in Robert J. Higgs, Sports: A Reference Guide (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1982): and David L. Vanderwerken and Spencer K.Wertz, eds., Sport Inside Out: Readings in Literature and Philosophy (Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1985).
  • “Pick and Roll” (poem). Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature 8 (Spring 1991): 14.
  • “Picking Strawberries.”  Ozark Mountaineer,49 (April-May 2001), 56.
  • “Poems.” Contemporary American Voices: A  Journal of Poetry (online), November 2007.
  • “Running: Cape Girardeau, November 1993” (poem). Cape Rock 30 (Spring 1995): 16-17.
  • “This Fall Day.” Cape Rock, 36 (Spring 2004), 40.  Reprinted in Contemporary American Voices: A  Journal of Poetry (online), November 2007.  
  • “Trading Deadline” (story). Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature 8 (Spring 1991): 15-20.
  • “Trees.” Cape Rock 35.1 (2002): 40.
  • “The Way to Watch a Football Game.”  Aethlon: The Journal of Sport
            Literature
    , 19 (Fall 2001), 182.
  • “Winter Storm Watch.” Contemporary American Voices: A  Journal of Poetry (online), November 2007.

Selected Shorter Publications: Nonfiction:

  • “An American Professor’s Meditation on Hiroshima.”  Hiroshima Studies in American Ethnic Literature 3 (2007): 1-4.
  • “Before the Fall: The Theme of Innocence in Faulkner’s ‘That Evening Sun.’” Notes on Mississippi Writers 11 (Winter 1979): 86-94.
  • “Beyond the Edge of the Map:  Faulkner, Turner, and the Frontier Line.”  Faulkner in the Twenty-First Century, ed. Robert W. Hamblin and Ann J. Abadie.  Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2003.154-71.
  • “Biographical Fact or Fiction?: William Faulkner, Estelle Oldham Franklin, and Abortion.”  Mississippi Quarterly 60 (Summer 2007): 579-87.
  • “‘Carcassonne’: Faulkner’s Allegory of Art and the Artist.” Southern Review 15 (Spring 1979): 355-65.
  • “Carcassonne in Mississippi: Faulkner’s Geography of the Imagination.” Faulkner and the Craft of Fiction. Eds. Doreen Fowler and Ann J. Abadie. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1989. 148-71.
  • “‘A Casebook on Mankind’: Faulkner’s Use of Shakespeare.” Teaching Faulkner, no. 15 (Fall 1999): 4-8.
  • “Conroy, Pat.”  New Georgia Encyclopedia (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2001). 95-9.
  • “The Curious Case of Faulkner’s ‘The De Gaulle Story.’” Faulkner Journal 16 (Fall 2000/Spring 2001): 79-86.
  • “Faulkner Readers and Collectors Discover E-Bay.” Faulkner Newsletter and Yoknapatawpha Review, 19 (April-June 1999): 1f.
  • “Faulkner’s Hucks and Jims.”  Faulkner and Twain, ed. Robert W. Hamblin and Melanie Speight.  Cape Girardeau: Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2009.
  • “Faulkner’s Map of Yoknapatawpha: The End of Absalom, Absalom!Teaching Faulkner 5 (Spring 1994): 4-5.
  • “‘A Fine Loud Grabble and Snatch of AAA and WPA’: Faulkner, Government, and the Individual.” Arkansas Review, 31 (April 2000): 10-15.
  • Homo Agonistes, or, William Faulkner as Sportswriter.” Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature 13 (Spring 1996): 13-22.
  • “James Street’s Look Away!: Source (and Non-Source) for William Faulkner.” American Notes and Queries 21 (May-June 1983): 141-43.
  • “L. D. Brodsky Collection Rich in Signed, Original Source Materials.” Faulkner Newsletter and Yoknapatawpha Review 2 (October-December 1982): 1ff.
  • “‘Like a Big Soft Fading Wheel’: The Triumph of Faulkner’s Art.” Faulkner at 100: Retrospect and Prospect, ed. Donald M. Kartiganer and Ann J. Abadie.  Jackson:  University Press of Mississippi, 2000. 272-84.
  • “Literature Professor Reflects on Teaching and Scholarship.” In Publish or Perish: The Wrong Issue, by Leslie H. Cochran. Cape Girardeau, Missouri: StepUp Inc., 1992. 93-5.
  • “‘Longer Than Anything’: Faulkner’s ‘Grand Design’ in Absalom, Absalom!Faulkner and the Artist. Eds. Donald M. Kartiganer and Ann J. Abadie. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1996. 269-93.
  • “Lucas Beauchamp, Ned Barnett, and William Faulkner’s 1940 Will.” Studies in Bibliography 32 (1979): 281-83.
  • “‘Magic Realism’: or, The Split-Fingered Fastball of W. P. Kinsella.” Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature 9 (Fall 1991): 1-10.
  • The Marble Faun: Chapter One of Faulkner’s Continuing Dialectic on Life and Art.” Publications of Missouri Philological Association 3 (1978): 80-90.
  • “Mythical and Archetypal Criticism.”  A Companion to Faulkner Studies, ed. Charles A. Peek and Robert W. Hamblin.  Westport, Conn.:  Greenwood Press, 2004. 1-26.
  • “The 1965 Southern Literary Festival: A Microcosm of the Civil Rights Movement.” Journal of Mississippi History 53 (May 1991): 83-114.
  • “’Oprah’s ‘Summer of Faulkner’.”  William Faulkner Journal of
     Japan
    8 (April 2006): 4-13. 
  • Review of Faulkner’s Apocrypha, by Joseph R. Urgo. South Atlantic Review 56:2 (1991): 160-63.
  • Review of A Genealogy of Dissent: Southern Baptist Protest in theTwentieth Century, by David Stricklin.  Southern Quarterly, 38 (Summer 2000): 150-52.
  • Review of William Faulkner and Southern History, by Joel Williamson. Teaching Faulkner 2 (Winter 1993): 1-2.
  • “Robert Penn Warren at the 1965 Southern Literary Festival.” Southern Literary Journal 22 (Spring 1990): 54-62.
  • “‘Saying No to Death’: Toward William Faulkner’s Theory of Fiction.” “A Cosmos of My Own”: Faulkner and Yoknapawpha 1980. Eds. Doreen Fowler and Ann J. Abadie. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1981. 3-35.
  • “‘The Shadow Beneath the Act’: Willie Morris and the Metaphor of Sports.” Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature, 17 (Fall 1999), 29-37.
  • “Sports Imagery in Pat Conroy’s Novels.” Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature 11 (Fall 1993): 49-59.
  • “The ‘Teaching Faulkner’ Sessions at the 1989 Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference.” Nebraska English and Language Arts Journal 36 (Fall-Winter 1990-1991): 7-15.
  • “Teaching Intruder in the Dust Through Its Political and Historical Context.”  Teaching Faulkner: Approaches and Methods, ed. Stephen Hahn and Robert W. Hamblin. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2000, 151-62.  Reprinted in A Gathering of Evidence: Essays on William Faulkner’s Intruder in the Dust, ed. Michel Gresset and Patrick Samway, S.J.  Philadelphia: St. Joseph’s University Press, 2004, 57-73.
  • “Understanding and Enhancing the Human Experience: The New University Studies Program at Southeast Missouri State University.” Perspectives: The Journal of the Association for General and Liberal Studies 18 (Spring 1988), 48-54. (Co-authored with other members of the University Studies Committee)
  • “William Faulkner: The Brodsky Collection.” Missouri Library World 2 (Fall 1997): 2-6.
  • (with Louis Daniel Brodsky) “The Far Side of Yoknapatawpha.” California 19 (October 1985): 72ff.  
  • (with Louis Daniel Brodsky) “Faulkner’s ‘L’Apres-Midi d’une Faun’: The Evolution of a Poem.” Studies in Bibliography 33 (1980): 254-63.

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