Chancellor Professor of English Emeritus
Office: Tucker 118
Office Hours: By appointment
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; movie.
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 And in editing a notebook of mostly unpublished poems by the winner of the 1887 Newdigate Prize at Oxford, Sidney A. Alexander, I have moved Alexander from oblivion to obscurity.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 in draft a piece arguing that Jefferson favored at least some education for blacks, something modern students of Jefferson don't believe.
I'm 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.