Chancellor Professor of English Emeritus
Background and Research and Teaching Interests
My undergraduate degree is from Lawrence University; my M.A. and Ph.D. are from the University of Chicago. I also studied at the Sorbonne. My main research interests have been in Victorian poetry, especially the nefariously subversive Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909). Here's my favorite poem by ACS: text; video.
I edited three volumes of Swinburne's correspondence (supplement here) as well as several lost works by William Sharp/Fiona Macleod. And in editing a notebook of mostly unpublished poems by the winner of the 1887 Newdigate Prize at Oxford, Sidney A. Alexander, I have moved Alexander from oblivion to obscurity.
In retirement I continue my research interests in local history and William and Mary history (especially, in conjunction with the Lemon Project, slavery at the College); I focus on the century forgotten (or, rather, erased) in Williamsburg-- the 19th Century.
I'm also working on the only poet who has ever been a president of William and Mary, William Dawson; on the 18th C. Bray School for black children, the subject of a recent archeological dig (more on the school here); on a 1773 letter by "Academicus" possibly by Jefferson (but more likely by the Rev. James Madison); and on the Williamsburg years and poetry of Virginia Hamilton Adair, who taught briefly in the Department. I have forthcoming a piece arguing that Jefferson favored at least some education for blacks, something most modern students of Jefferson don't believe.
I'm immdediate past president of the Williamsburg Historic Records Association.
My wife, Sheila, is a graduate of W&M, Class of '78, and the best ever real estate agent in Williamsburg. Our daughter, Deborah Boyle, is a professor of philosophy at the College of Charleston, and our son, Blake Meyers, is a PI at the Danforth Plant Science Center and a professor in the Division of Plant Sciences at the University of Missouri--Columbia.