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Dr. Wesley Beal
Assistant Professor of English
B.A. Hendrix College; M.A. University of Florida; Ph.D. University of Florida
Office 211 in the Alphin Humanities Building
Dr. Beal holds a Ph.D. from the University of Florida. At Lyon he teaches poetry and fiction ranging from early American to contemporary literature, as well as world literature, composition, and the first-year experience seminar. His teaching has been recognized with a handful of awards, among them the Calvin A. VanderWerf Teaching Award, given to the single highest-rated graduate teaching assistant in UF’s Graduate School, and Lyon College’s Professor of the Year. His research focuses on 20th-century American literature, particularly that of the modern period. His book Networks of Modernism was published the University of Iowa Press in 2015.
In teaching authors, periods, and genres from the colonial period to the present, Dr. Beal stresses a historicist methodology that is also central to his research. Whether teaching the early American survey, his “Introduction to (Detective) Fiction” course, or non-canonical fiction of the 20th century, he hopes his students adopt this method of critiquing the rich exchanges between texts and their social conditions. In literature and composition courses alike, 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’s research focuses on the treatment of social organization in American modernism. One side of this project is Networks of Modernism, which studies the cultural logic of modernism as it takes place in the works of Randolph Bourne, Jean Toomer, Anita Loos, John Dos Passos, and Nathanael West. The book studies the interwar period’s network aesthetics that accompany the technological and sociological developments of the early 1900s. Another side of this project is a study of the modern family, which is underway with exploratory studies of the collaborative novel The Whole Family and the fiction of Raymond Chandler.
Like his colleagues at Lyon, Dr. Beal is committed to community service. He is on the board of Habitat for Humanity and volunteers for a local Creative Arts Ministry.