Cloud Lecturer

In 2004 Sara Cloud made a bequest to support a lecture series in the Department of English to honor the achievements and perpetuate the memory of Dr. Jess Cloud, accomplished poet, author, scholar, and former development officer and teacher in the College's Honors Program. Selected speakers are of national renown and may be outstanding scholars in the areas of Mr. Cloud’s achievements and scholarship: poetry, the Renaissance, and sixteenth-, seventeenth-, and twentieth-century literature.

Cloud Lecturers:

  • Mark Edmundson2014, Mark Edmundson, Professor of English, UVA, a scholar of 19th-century British and American poetry, is also a public intellectual whose work appears regularly in the New York Times, the Chronicle, Harper's, The American Scholar, etc.

  • Maud Ellmann2013, Maud Ellman, Randy L. & Melvin R. Berlin Professor of the Development of the Novel in English, University of Chicago. Maud Ellmann's research and teaching interests focus on British and European modernism and literary theory. She has published several books, including The Poetics of Impersonality: T. S. Eliot and Ezra PoundThe Hunger Artists: Starving, Writing, and Imprisonment, and Elizabeth Bowen: The Shadow across the Page. Her most recent book, The Nets of Modernism: Henry James, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, and Sigmund Freud, is a study of modernist fiction and psychoanalysis. Works she has edited include Psychoanalytic Literary Criticism: A Reader and the Oxford World’s Classics edition of Bram Stoker's Dracula.

  • 2012, Robert Fitzgerald Reid-Pharr, is a Distinguished and Presidential Professor of English and American Robert Reid-PharrStudies at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He was an assistant and associate professor of English at the Johns Hopkins University.  In addition, he has been the Edward Said Visiting Chair of American Studies at the American University of Beirut, the Drue Heinz Visiting Professor of English at the University of Oxford, the Carlisle and Barbara Moore Distinguished Visiting Professor of English at the University of Oregon, and the Frederic Ives Carpenter Visiting Assistant Professor of English at the University of Chicago.  A specialist in African American culture and a prominent scholar in the field of race and sexuality studies, he has published three books and numerous articles in, among other places, American Literature, American Literary History, Callaloo, Afterimage, Small Axe, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Women and Performance, Social Text, Transition,Studies in the Novel, The African American Review, and Radical America.  His research and writing have been supported by grants from the Ford Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

  • William Deresiewicz2012, William Deresiewicz is an American writer and literary critic. He was an English professor at Yale University from 1998 to 2008.  His criticism appears in The Nation, The American Scholar, the London Review of Books, The New Republic, and The New York Times.  He was nominated for National Magazine Awards in 2008, 2009, and 2011 and for the National Book Critics Circle’s Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing in 2010, 2011, and 2012. A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter was published in 2011 by Penguin Press. His academic work Jane Austen and the Romantic Poets was published by Columbia University Press in 2004.
  • 2012, Susan Morgan is Distinguished Professor of English and Women's Studies Affiliate at Miami University.  She received her Ph.D. Susan Morganfrom University of Chicago and taught at Cornell University, Stanford University, California Institute of Technology and Vassar College before coming to Miami in 1991.  Her critical books include In the Meantime: Character and Perception on Jane Austen's Fiction (1980), Sisters in Time: Imagining Gender in Nineteenth-Century British Fiction (1989), and Place Matters: Gendered Geography in Victorian Women's Travel Books about Southeast Asia (1996).  She is the author of many articles and has edited three Victorian travel memoirs: Anna Leonowens's 1873 The Romance of the Harem (1991), Marianne North's 1892 Recollections of a Happy Life, Vol 1 (1993), and Ada Pryer's 1892 A Decade in Borneo (2001).  Her awards include an NEH Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Fulbright Fellowship, and the Jane Austen Society of North America North American Scholar Award.  At Miami University she was appointed Distinguished Professor in 2000 and has also received the Outstanding Professor Award, the Distinguished Scholar Award and the Outstanding Scholar of the Graduate Faculty Award.   Bombay Anna: The Real Story and Incredible Adventures of  The King and I Governess, a biography of Anna Leonowens, was published in 2008 by University of California Press, with a paperback in 2009,  a second, significantly revised edition (published by Silkworm Books) in 2010, and a Thai translation in 2011.  
  • Valerie Smith2011, Valerie Smith, Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature, Princeton University, gave a lecture on the works of Toni Morrison entitled "Trouble in Paradise." Smith served as the founding director (2006 -09) of UVA's Center for African American Studies. She is a specialist in African-American literature and culture, with specific interests in black feminist theory and film studies. She received a Guggenheim Felllowship in 2005-06 and an Alphonse G. Fletcher, Sr. Fellowship in 2006-07. At present, she is completing a book on the Civil Rights Movement in cultural memory. 
  • Geoffrey Harpham2010, Geoffrey Harpham, president and director of the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Among his many books are On the Grotesque: Strategies of Contradiction in Art and Literature (1982); Shadows of Ethics: Criticism and the Just Society (1999); and Language Alone: The Critical Fetish of Modernity(2002). His longstanding scholarly interests include the role of ethics in literary study, the place of language in intellectual history, and the work of Joseph Conrad. He has collaborated with M. H. Abrams on A Glossary of Literary Terms, now in its tenth edition. In recent years, he has become a prominent historian of and advocate for the humanities; The Humanities and the Dream of America appeared in 2011. He has received fellowships from the J. S. Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Under his leadership, the National Humanities Center has sponsored initiatives that have encouraged dialogue between the humanities and the natural and social sciences. (photo and biography courtesy of the National Humanities Center)

  • Jahan Ramazani2010, Jahan RamanzaniEdgar F. Shannon Professor 
in the English Department at the University of Virginia, presented an April lecture entitled, “Amid Other Genres: The Poetry of Postcolonial Poetry.”  Ramazani specializes in modern and contemporary poetry, and postcolonial literature. His published book include  A Transnational Poetics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009); The Twentieth Century and After in The Norton Anthology of English Literature (with Jon Stallworthy, Norton, 2006); The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry, 2 vols. (with late editors Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, Norton, 2003); The Hybrid Muse: Postcolonial Poetry in English (University of Chicago Press, 2001);  Poetry of Mourning: The Modern Elegy from Hardy to Heaney (University of Chicago Press, 1994); and Yeats and the Poetry of Death: Elegy, Self-Elegy, and the Sublime (Yale University Press, 1990).
  • Leah Price2009. Harvard Professor of English Leah Price gave a talk entitled, "From the History of the Book to the 'History of the Book.'" Professor Price interrogated the overlap between recent scholarship on the history of the book and the long tradition of fiction that raises questions about the act of reading.  While scholars often discuss the common interests of human agents, Leah Price explores the nature of circulation in both of these scholarly trajectories. As analytical bibliographers have long emphasized, books accrue meaning not  just through their manufacture, but through their subsequent uses:  bought, sold, exchanged, transported, defaced, mended, sorted, catalogued, ignored, collected, neglected, discarded, recycled.  Professor Price examined book circulation in a variety of narratives, including fictional autobiographies and such histories as the "Adventures of the Bible,"  in which a thing traces its travels among a series of richer and poorer owners.


  • 2008. University of Michigan Professor Marjorie Levinson is the author of The Romantic Fragment Poem: Critique of a Form (UNC Press, 1986), Wordsworth’s Great Period Poems (Cambridge, 1986), Keats’s Life of Allegory: Origins of a Style (Blackwell, 1988), and Rethinking Historicism (editor and contributor, Blackwell, 1989).

  • womack2008. Emory University Professor of English Craig Womack is the author of Red on Red: Native American Literary Separatism and the novel Drowning in Fire. He teaches courses on Native American Literature, Muscogee literature, and gay and lesbian literature. His lecture formed part of the Society for the Study of Southern Literature's meeting in Williamsburg.

  • rampersad2007. Arnold Rampersad is the Sara Hart Kimball Professor in the Humanities and the Cognizant Dean for the Humanities at Stanford University. He is also one of the country's leading experts on African American literature and culture. In addition to editing the work of Langston Hughes and Richard Wright, he has published biographies of Hughes, W. E. B. DuBois, and Jackie Robinson. His book Ralph Ellison: A Biography was published by Knopf in 2007.

  • perloff2006. Marjorie Perloff, the first Cloud Lecturer, has been for 30 years a leading critic and scholar in the field of 20th-century literature. She has taught at Stanford and the University of Southern California and was the president of the Modern Language Association in 2006.