Hugh Egan has been a member of the English department at Ithaca College since 1985. His primary field is American literature and he has particular teaching and research interests in literature of the frontier, literature of the sea, first-person voice, and authors James Fenimore Cooper, Herman Melville, Frederick Douglass, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. He directed the Humanities and Sciences Honors Program from 1995 to 2001. Professor Egan has twice taught as a Fulbright lecturer in American literature--in Sweden (1992) and in Indonesia (2003). From 2010-2013, he served as Robert Ryan Professor of the Humanities.
Current and recent courses
- Approaches to Literary Study
- Introduction to Fiction: the Poetics of Domesticity and the Poetics of Adventure
- Great American Writers Before 1890: Discovery and Discourse in America
- Studies in American Literature: The Alienated Storyteller
- Honors intermediate seminar: American Breakdown--The Literature of Madness in America
Some recent activities
Current project: A study of of the rhetorical discourse of slavery in antebellum America, centered upon the figures of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Frederick Douglass.
"'On Freedom': Emerson, Douglass, and the Self-reliant Slave," ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance, 60:2 (May 2014).
"Slavery and Self-Reliance: Douglass, Emerson and the Limits of Metaphor." Robert Ryan Lecture given at Ithaca College, May 3, 2013.
"Two Views of Frederick Douglass and the Importance of Rochester, NY," a paper given at the Northeast Modern Language Association, Rochester, NY, March 2012.
"Thrice-Told Tale: Frederick Douglass and the Art of Autobiography," an invited talk sponsored by the Sigma Tau Delta Society, Ithaca College, November 2011.
Review of Melville: The Making of the Poet, by Hershel Parker; Frederick Douglass and Herman Melville: Essays in Relation, ed. by Robert S. Levine and Samuel Otter. American Literature (September 2009).
"Historical Introduction" (with William S. Dudley), Ned Myers or, A Life before the Mast, by James Fenimore Cooper. Ed. Robert D. Madison. New York: AMS Press, Inc., 2009.
"The Form and Fact of Slavery: Douglass, Covey, and Ralph Waldo Emerson," a paper delivered at the College Language Association conference, Cambridge MD, March 2009.
Review of The View from the Masthead: Maritime Imagination and Antebellum American Sea Narratives, by Hester Blum; Women and Children First: Nineteenth-Century Sea Narratives and American Identity, by Robin Miskolcze; "Whole Oceans Away": Meville and the Pacific, ed. by Jill Barnum, Wyn Kelley, and Christopher Sten. American Literature, December 2008.
Review of Gender and the Poetics of Reception in Poe's Circle, by Eliza Richards; Poe, Fuller, and the Mesmeric Arts: Transition States in the American Renaissance, by Bruce Mills. American Literature, December 2007.
Review of James Fenimore Cooper: The Early Years, by Wayne Franklin. The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, Autumn 2007.
"Entangled Rhyme: A Dialogic Reading of Melville's Battle Pieces (with David DeVries, Cornell University). Leviathan (special issue on Melville's poetry), October 2007.
"The 'hunger of the human heart': Religion and the Creative Imagination in Richard Wright's Black Boy (American Hunger)." A paper delivered at the College Language Association conference, Miami FL, April 2007.