Baylor English professor wins prestigious award for literary scholarship and criticism

Russell (edit)Dr. Richard R. Russell, professor of English at Baylor University, has been awarded the Robert Penn Warren-Cleanth Brooks Award for literary scholarship and criticism for 2014 for his book Seamus Heaney’s Regions. The award was established to honor the legacies of Robert Penn Warren (1905-1989) and Cleanth Brooks (1906-1994).

In the letter announcing Russell’s award from the Center for Robert Penn Warren Studies, it was noted that Warren “shared with Seamus Heaney a commitment to the ongoing relevance of regional culture in the interconnected world of the twentieth century.”

The letter to Russell went on to say, “The judges were struck by the rigor and depth of scholarship in Seamus Heaney’s Regions, namely your highly original assessment of Heaney as a poet whose work connects the local and immediate with the wide-angle concerns of modernity. Your book casts Heaney’s rootedness in Northern Ireland as not merely a connection to place, but as an evolving engagement with the multiplicity of traditions, problems, and potentialities that intersected there. n the opinion of the committee, Seamus Heaney’s Regions is indispensable to readers interested in Heaney’s work and an important contribution to literary scholarship more generally.”

Previous winners of the award include such notable literary critics as Marjorie Perloff, Frank Kermode, Ron Schuchard, Denis Donoghue, John Hollander and Lewis P. Simpson.

“I’m very grateful and honored by the award, and to be working at such a wonderful university as Baylor that supports my research so well,” Russell said.

Russell earned a BA in English literature from the University of Memphis in 1994 and a Master of Philosophy degree in English literature from the University of Glasgow in 1996. He earned an MA in English literature in 1997 and a PhD in English literature in 2001 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Russell joined the Baylor faculty in 2001. He received an Outstanding Professor Award in 2004 and the Baylor Centennial Professor award in 2012.

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