About Me

In this blog, I share new writing in a variety of formats, and I provide a portal to some of my published work. It gives me a place to go when I read something interesting and want to write about it. It is in this sense “my other office.”

I am a critic, writer, teacher, scholar, and musician. I work at Indiana University in Bloomington IN. Much of my published writing focuses on American literature, culture, and history, but my interests range widely. I have written on writers from Aphra Behn to Kurt Vonnegut and from Lacan and Luhmann to Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski. I have written a lot about Edgar Allan Poe and his influence on global popular culture.

I have held several administrative positions, including chair of the English Department and, for ten years, Director of the College Arts and Humanities Institute. I have been much involved over the past decade with public humanities of various kinds,  and I served as Artistic Director of the Chicago Humanities Festival from 2015-2017. I am a Principal Investigator for Platform: A Research Laboratory in Arts and Humanities, an initiative focused on interdisciplinary scholarship, and supported by the Mellon Foundation.

I have been playing the trombone for more than fifty years. In years past I had the honor of recording with Evan Ziporyn on the first recording of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, and sharing the stage with Darius Brubeck, Benny Carter and, on one amazing evening, Dizzy Gillespie. Today I play mostly with the Postmodern Jazz Quartet.

My wife Alexandra Morphet is a custom clothier at ReseenResewn. My son Nathaniel is a student at the Yale School of Architecture and my daughter Lydia studies at the Maurer School of Law at Indiana University.