Hugh Egan

Professor, Literatures in English
Office: Muller Faculty Center 306, Ithaca, NY 14850
Specialty: American literature, especially 19th century prose and poetry

Hugh Egan has been a member of the English department at Ithaca College since 1985. His primary field is American literature and he has particular teaching and research interests in literature of the sea, first-person voice, and authors James Fenimore Cooper, Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson, Frederick Douglass, and Ralph Waldo Emerson. He directed the Humanities and Sciences Honors Program from 1995 to 2001. Professor Egan has twice taught as a Fulbright lecturer in American literature--in Sweden (1992) and in Indonesia (2003). From 2010-2013, he served as Robert Ryan Professor of the Humanities.

Current and recent courses

  • Approaches to Literary Study
  • Great American Writers Before 1890: Declarations of Independence, Revelations of Confinement
  • Studies in American Literature: The Alienated Storyteller
  • Introduction to Short Story: This American Life

Some recent activities

Current projects: 1) a study of of the rhetorical discourse of slavery in antebellum America, centered upon the figures of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Frederick Douglass; 2) editing a scholarly edition of James Fenimore Cooper's The Redskins for the MLA approved Cooper Edition. 

Review of scholarly edition of James Fenimore Cooper's Homeward Bound or, The Chase (1838). Ed. Stephen Carl Arch. Resources for American Literary Study, vol. 39 (2017).

"Physical Labor and Psychological Identity in the Autobiographical Works of Frederick Douglass and Richard Henry Dana." Paper presented at Northeast Modern Language Association conference, Hartford CT, March 2016.

Review of Writing the Seaman's Tale in Law and Literature: Dana, Melville, and Justice Story, by Kathryn Mudgett. The Nautilus (Spring 2015).

"Hiving the Bees: Frederick Douglass and John Brown." A presentation sponsored by the Tompkins County Public Library in cooperation with the Tompkins County Civil War Commission. February 18, 2015.

"'On Freedom': Emerson, Douglass, and the Self-reliant Slave," ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance, 60:2 (May 2014).

"Slavery and Self-Reliance: Douglass, Emerson and the Limits of Metaphor." Robert Ryan Lecture given at Ithaca College, May 3, 2013.

"Two Views of Frederick Douglass and the Importance of Rochester, NY," a paper given at the Northeast Modern Language Association, Rochester, NY, March 2012.

"Thrice-Told Tale: Frederick Douglass and the Art of Autobiography," an invited talk sponsored by the Sigma Tau Delta Society, Ithaca College, November 2011.

Reviews of Melville: The Making of the Poet, by Hershel Parker; Frederick Douglass and Herman Melville: Essays in Relation, ed. by Robert S. Levine and Samuel Otter. American Literature (September 2009).

"Historical Introduction" (with William S. Dudley), Ned Myers or, A Life before the Mast, by James Fenimore Cooper. Ed. Robert D. Madison. New York: AMS Press, Inc., 2009.