Clark Davis

Clark Davis


  • Faculty

What I do

Professor of English and Literary Arts


American literature, literary biography

Professional Biography

I've been teaching courses in early and pre-Civil War American literature for over thirty years, and I am the author of the following books: After the Whale: Melville in the Wake of Moby Dick (Alabama 1995); Hawthorne's Shyness: Ethics, Politics, and the Question of Engagement (Johns Hopkins, 2005); It Starts with Trouble: William Goyen and the Life of Writing (Texas, 2015); and the forthcoming God's Scrivener: The Madness and Meaning of Jones Very (Chicago, 2023).


  • Ph.D., English and American Literature, SUNY-Buffalo, 1992
  • BA, English, Rice University, 1986

Professional Affiliations

  • Hawthorne Society
  • Modern Language Association


My current work is focused on romantic individualism, messianic impulses, and anticipatory modernism in the antebellum period. My current project is a critical memoir focusing on grief and life of the object as related to the work of Edgar Allan Poe.

Areas of Research

American literature
literary biography
Herman Melville
Nathaniel Hawthorne
American Modernism.

Featured Publications

Davis, Clark. “Emerson's Telescope: Jones Very And Romantic Individualism.” The Soul Of Quiet: Jones Very And American Romanticism. New England Quarterly, (2018).
Davis, Clark. It Starts With Trouble: William Goyen And The Life Of Writing. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 2015.
Davis, Clark. Hawthorne's Shyness: Ethics, Politics, And The Question Of Engagement. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. 2005.
Davis, Clark. After The Whale: Melville In The Wake Of Moby-Dick. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press. 1995.


Davis, Clark. “Guy Davenport's '1830': Poe And The Art Of Assemblage ” International Poe/Hawthorne Conference, Japan, Kyoto, Japan, Poe and Hawthorne Societies, 2018.


  • Publishers' Weekly Best Books of 2015, Publishers' Weekly
  • Elizabeth Agee Prize in American Literature, University of Alabama Press