Dr. Wesley Beal, Assistant Professor of English
B.A. Hendrix College; M.A. University of Florida; Ph.D. University of Florida
Building: Alphin Humanities Building
Dr. Beal teaches English composition and American literature, specializing in modern fiction. He offers a sophomore course in detective fiction, the American literature to 1900 survey for the major, and an elective course on non-canonical fiction of the 20th century that supplements the required survey for the major. In teaching authors, periods, and genres from colonial writers to Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson and on to Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, Dr. Beal emphasizes experimentation, hoping students will experiment with new ideas, new questions, and new writing styles—and in doing so, stretch out of their comfort zones without having to worry too much about getting it exactly "right" the first time.
Dr. Beal is interested in how texts represent social organization in content and form. One side of this work is a continuation of his dissertation, a study of the formal, technological, and sociological networks in modernist fiction, which he is currently revising as a manuscript. One chapter of that project is forthcoming from American Literary History, and another has been published in Digital Humanities Quarterly as part of a special cluster of essays he co-edited. Another side of this work is a book-length project to study how American moderns imagined the family as an important mechanism of social organization, beginning with an article on Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe novels.
Dr. Beal came to Lyon in 2010, having completed his dissertation at the University of Florida, where he received several honors. From 2006-09 he held a Grinter Fellowship for doctoral study, and he had a Massey Dissertation Fellowship in the summer of 2010. He won a University Writing Program Teaching Award in 2006 for his teaching of composition. And in 2008 he won the Calvin A. VanderWerf Teaching Award, given to the single highest-rated graduate teaching assistant in the University of Florida’s Graduate School.
Out in Town:
Dr. Beal is setting roots in Batesville with his wife Courtney and son Reed. Like his colleagues at Lyon (and following his research interests in social organization as well as his values), he is committed to community work. He is currently working to establish a books-for-prisoners program that would bring a sense of dignity to one of America’s greatly underserved populations, and that would lead Lyon students to confront tough questions of morality and democracy.
When he has time for himself, Dr. Beal enjoys playing with his son, making barbecue, and watching and playing basketball.