The Columns

Warren Awarded Mellon and Formby Fellowships for Sabbatical Year

— by on March 31st, 2008

James Warren, S. Blount Mason, Jr., Professor of English at Washington and Lee University, has received both an Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship and a Formby Library Research Fellowship for 2008-09.

Warren, whose teaching includes 19th-century American Romanticism, literary theory, and literature of the environment, will begin his sabbatical year this summer. He will study the poems of Mary Austin during his three-month Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship at The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, Calif.

His work will follow up on research he began in 2002, when he spent a month at the Huntington Library as a Kenneth E. and Dorothy V. Hill Fellow, researching John Burroughs, John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt and Mary Austin.

“The work I did during that month played a significant role in my third book, John Burroughs and the Place of Nature,” Warren said. “It also taught me that Mary Austin didn’t actually belong in the book I was then researching and writing. Despite that change in the plan for my book, I managed to inventory the Austin Collection, paying special attention to Austin’s poems and to her essays on poetry and poetics. With the support of the Mellon Fellowship, I hope to edit Austin’s poems and produce a text that can be used by scholars and students alike, introducing the range of her poetic work and her ideas about the relationships between poetry and the environment.”

In the fall, Warren will spend three months in Lubbock, Texas, as a Formby Library Research Fellow, studying the works of Barry Lopez in Texas Tech University’s Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library.

His work will form the basis for a new book devoted to Lopez’s work, both fiction and non-fiction.

“There is to my knowledge no book-length critical study of Barry Lopez’s literary works,” said Warren. “His importance as a writer is certain, and I have been fortunate to work with him on his two visits to W&L. My hope is to produce the first major study of his work, paying close attention to the work itself and to the archival materials that reveal the writing process.”

Warren received his B.A. from Auburn University and an M.A., M. Phil. and Ph. D. from Yale University. The author of three books, including John Burroughs and the Place of Nature (University of Georgia Press, 2006), The Culture of Eloquence (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999) and Walt Whitman’s Language Experiment (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1990), he has taught English at Washington and Lee since 1984, chairing the department from 1997-2007.