Book Cover

Not Even Past

A History of the Department of English, The Ohio State University, 1870–2000

Morris Beja and Christian K. Zacher

248 pp. 6 x 9
62 illustrations
Pub Date: November, 2019

Subjects: Ohio

Imprint: Impromptu Press
Distributed by the Ohio State University Press

Order Paperback $24.95   ISBN: 978-1-7335340-0-0
Order PDF ebook$19.95   ISBN: 978-1-7335340-1-7

Not Even Past: A History of the Department of English, The Ohio State University, 1870–2000 provides a thorough and fascinating institutional history of a program central to the mission of the university and a history of an entire complex discipline. OSU’s Department of English is one of the largest and most prominent in the US and, in fact, the world. Inevitably, then, a study of that department entails an account of the role of English and American literature in higher education from the nineteenth century to modern and contemporary times; an exploration of the expanding role of the modern “English” department and discipline; the role—or, at times, the lack of a significant role—of women and minorities within the department; and the careers and accomplishments of numerous prominent critics, scholars, and creative writers—including, for example, James Thurber and his work with a number of OSU faculty.  Due attention is paid to the controversies and troubles of the late 1960s and the shutdown of the university in 1970. In addition to the two major authors, ten experts provide extended sections on the history of their own fields. The result is both comprehensive and deeply felt.

Morris Beja is Academy Professor Emeritus at The Ohio State University and former Chair of the Department of English. He has authored or edited eighteen books, including James Joyce: A Literary Life (OSU Press, 1992).

Christian K. Zacher is Academy Professor Emeritus at The Ohio State University and former Director of the Humanities Institute at OSU. He is the author or coeditor of five books, including The Holbrook Years: 2000–2007 (OSU Press, 2012).


List of Illustrations
Chapter 1        “Our Mother Tongue”: The Early Years
Chapter 2        “The Length and Shadow,” “The Lengthened Shadow”: The Denney Years
Chapter 3        Crises and Opportunities: The Fullington Years
                                    Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Chapter 4        “Primus inter Pares”: The Estrich Years
                                    History of the Regional Campuses, by John Hellmann
Chapter 5        The Troubles: The Kuhn Years
                                    Creative Writing, by Michelle Herman
                                    Rhetoric and Composition, by Andrea Abernethy Lunsford
                                    Sports in the Department of English, by David Frantz and Julian Markels
                                    Folklore, by Patrick Mullen and Amy Shuman
Chapter 6        Mentor: The Gabel Years
Chapter 7        The Socialist Professor as Chair: The Markels Years
                                    Critical Theory, by James Phelan
Chapter 8        The “Omnibus” English Department: The Beja Years
                                    Women’s and Gender Studies, by Valerie Lee
                                    African American Literature in Ohio State’s Department of English, by Valerie Lee
                                    Film Studies in the English Department, by Linda Mizejewski
Chapter 9        From the Omnibus to the Federation: The Phelan Years
            James Phelan
Epilogue          Into the Twenty-First Century
Works Cited