Clark Davis

Clark Davis


What I do

Professor of English and Literary Arts


American literature, literary biography, ethical theory

Professional Biography

I've been at DU since 2000. I received degrees in English and American literature from Rice University and the University at Buffalo (SUNY-Buffalo). I've taught full-time for over twenty-five years and have served as department chair at DU for six of those years. My areas of interest and specialization are antebellum and twentieth-century American literature, with a particular emphasis on ethical theory, intellectual history, and literary biography.


  • 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. The central figure in this investigation is the American poet and mystic, Jones Very. I am also researching an intellectual and artistic biography of the 20th century American writer, critic, and artist Guy Davenport.

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