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Bainard Cowan, Ph.D.

BCowanLouise Cowan Chair Professor of Literature
Location: Augustine Hall 101
Office Phone: 972-721-4016

Expertise and Research Interests

Epic in world literature
The novel in world literature
American literature
History of criticism

Education and Experience

After graduating from UD in English Literature, Dr. Cowan studied at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich on a Fulbright and then took his doctorate from Yale in comparative literature. He taught English at Louisiana State University for thirty-three years, with additional regular teaching assignments in the Honors College ancient-to-modern core curriculum and in the Comparative Literature Doctoral Program. He had visiting appointments at the University of Provence in Aix; at Assumption College, where he was D’Alzon Professor; and, in summers, at the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture.

Dr. Cowan was a co-founder of the Interdepartmental Doctoral Program in Comparative Literature at LSU and a member of the Comité scientifique (advisory board) of the LSU Center for French and Francophone Studies. For that program he designed and directed a series of summer institutes on the literature of the Americas that won an NEH grant and two Louisiana state grants and taught over 100 students, most of them college teachers in the Gulf South.


Dr. Cowan has directed 13 dissertations in American literature, comparative literature, and literary theory. He has taught extensively at graduate and undergraduate levels, especially in American and world literature, literary criticism and theory, and interdisciplinary humanities courses. He has organized a half dozen faculty seminars at several institutions and has taught in adult education programs at LSU and the Dallas Institute.

Recent Courses

Literary Tradiition II, III, IV
The Ancient World
American Literature
Hegel, Nietzsche, Dostoevsky
The Russian Novel
Literary Criticism
Eastern Literary Traditions
History and Theory of the Novel

Scholarship: Selected Publications

Co-founder (with Daniel Mark Fogel) and Associate Editor of the Henry James Review (1979-92)

“The Serpent’s Coils: How to Read Caroline Gordon’s Later Fiction,” Southern Review 16 (1980):281-98

“Walter Benjamin’s Theory of Allegory,” New German Critique No. 22 (1981): 109-22

“Dante’s ‘Novella Tebe,’” Comparatist 6 (1982): 16-23

Exiled Waters: Moby-Dick and the Crisis of Allegory (Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1982)

“Dante, Hegel, and the Comedy of History,” The Terrain of Comedy, ed. Louise Cowan (Dallas: Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture Press, 1984): 89-109

Ed. (with Joseph G. Kronick), Theorizing American Literature: Hegel, the Sign, and History (Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1991)

Founder and General Editor (with Joseph G. Kronick), “Theoretical Horizons of American Literature, “ scholarly book series at LSU Press, 1991-2004 (9 books by various authors)

“America Between Two Myths: Moby-Dick as Epic,” The Epic Cosmos, ed. Larry Allums (Dallas: Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture Press, 1992): 219-48

“The Nomos of Deleuze and Guattari: Emergent Holism in A Thousand Plateaus,” Annals of Scholarship, 11, 3 (1996): 271-87

Ed. (with Jefferson Humphries), Poetics of the Americas: Race, Founding, and Textuality (Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1997)

Ed. (with J. Scott Lee), Uniting the Liberal Arts: Core and Context (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 2002)

Ed., “Magical Realism,” special issue of Janus Head 5.2 (2002)

“Tarrying with the Tragic: Hegel and His Critics,” The Tragic Abyss, ed. Glenn Arbery (Dallas Institute Pubns., 2004), 39-58

“Through the Unlit Door of Earth: Sophocles’ Transformation of Tragedy,” The Tragic Abyss 145-64

Several Introductions and Instructors’ Guide entries on classical Indian and Chinese literature, 2004-12

“A Comparative Civilization Course Featuring Classic Texts,” Classics for an Emerging World, ed. William Theodore de Bary, Shang Wei, and Rachel E. Chung (New York: Columbia University Committee on Asia and the Middle East, 2008), 113-114

Ed., Gained Horizons: Benedict XVI and the Enlargement of Reason (South Bend, Ind.: St.   Augustine's Press, 2011)

Ed., The Prospect of Lyric (Dallas: DallasInstitute of Humanities and Culture Press, 2012)


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