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Barry Wood, a Canadian by birth, completed a B.A. at University of Toronto and began his career with two years of high school teaching. His first publication was a Canadian high-school teaching edition of Huckleberry Finn (Clarke-Irwin 1967). Undergraduate classes from critic Northrop Frye and Canadian poets Jay McPherson and Dennis Lee stimulated an interdisciplinary approach to literature. During his M.A. program at University of British Columbia, Wood completed his first book, The Magnificent Frolic (1970), an experimental recasting of theology in light of the linguistic theories of Benjamin Lee Whorf. An interest in American studies led him to pursue further study in the United States.
At Stanford University, Wood completed a self-designed interdisciplinary doctorate in Literature, Humanities, and Religious Studies and he has since taught courses in all three areas. Wood’s second book, The Only Freedom (1972), completed before earning his doctorate, was published the semester he joined the English faculty at University of Houston.
In addition to courses in American literature, Wood regularly teaches Development of the Novel (3324), History of Drama (3326), and three catalog courses he introduced: Classics of Children’s Literature (3346), Classics of Adolescent Literature (3347), and Native American Literature (3349). At the graduate level, he teaches the required core course for creative writing doctoral students, History of Narrative and Narrative Theory (7361). As a visitor, he has taught Canadian Fiction at Trent University, Canada, and Hinduism and Buddhism for the Houston Baptist University Master of Liberal Arts (MLA) program. From 1987 to 1991, Wood taught in Malaysia for the Texas International Education Consortium (TIEC), then for the State University of New York (SUNY), both in cooperative programs with Institut Technologi Mara (ITM). Here he taught Western World Literature and American Studies.
Wood has published on Emerson in PMLA, Malcolm Lowry in Canadian Literature and Contemporary Literature, Robert Davies in Critique, and Thoreau in American Literature. His essay on Emerson and Coleridge has been reprinted in Emerson’s Nature: Origin, Growth, Meaning; his essay on Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience,” originally published in Philological Quarterly, has been reprinted four times. As editor, Wood published Malcolm Lowry: The Writer and His Critics (Tecumseh Press 1980)—which earned him an Ontario Arts Council Award. Current Norton Critical Editions include Wood’s essays on Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” and Mark Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson.
Since his assignment to teach the doctoral core course, History of Narrative and Narrative Theory (7381), Wood has been at work on a book-length anatomy of narrative (three-quarters complete in late 2010) that aims to trace the history and development of narrative from its prehistoric biological, linguistic, and cultural roots to its modern forms in literature, sculpture, painting, and music. Following his interest in Asian literature and culture, this study incorporates both Eastern and Western narrative. In 2010, Wood was awarded a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) grant to develop a new Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (ILAS) course that will satisfy the humanities requirement of the undergraduate core curriculum: ILAS 2360: Cosmic Narratives: A narrative history of the Universe from its beginnings to the present.
- Ph.D. — English and Humanities, Minor in Religious Studies, Stanford University
- M.A. — University of British Columbia
- B.A. — University of Toronto
- ENGL 3324: Development of the Novel
- ENGL 3326: History of Drama
- ENGL 3328: British Literature II
- ENGL 3346: Classics of Children’s Literature
- ENGL 3347: Classics of Adolescent Literature
- ENGL 3349: Native American Literature
- ENGL 3350: American Literature to 1865
- ENGL 3352: American Fiction to 1900
- ENGL 3357: Modern American Drama
- ENGL 7367: Preseminar: American Literature to 1865
- ENGL 7381: History of Narrative
- ENGL 8373: American Transcendentalism
- The Only Freedom. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1972.
- Malcolm Lowry: The Writer and His Critics. Edited. Ottawa: Tecumseh Press, 1981.
- “The Growth of the Soul: Coleridge’s Dialectical Method and the Strategy of Emerson’s Nature.” PMLA 91:3 (May 1976) 385-397.
- “Malcolm Lowry’s Metafiction: The Biography of a Genre.” Contemporary Literature 19 (Winter 1978) 1-25.
- “Thoreau’s Narrative Art in Civil Disobedience.” Philological Quarterly 60:1 (Winter 1981) 105-115. Reprinted by Harold Bloom, ed., Henry David Thoreau (Chelsea House 1987). Reprinted by William Rossi, ed., Walden and Civil Disobedience: A Norton Critical Edition (W. W. Norton 1992).