Dr. Robert W. Hamblin Lecture Endowed at Southeast

Photo of Dr. Robert W. Hamblin

Dr. Robert W. Hamblin

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Jan. 10, 2011 — The Dr. Robert W. Hamblin Lecture has been endowed through the Southeast Missouri University Foundation.

Scott and Dr. Stephanie Chamberlain of Jackson, Mo., made a $20,000 gift to the Foundation to establish the lecture Dr. Stephanie Chamberlain is a professor of English at Southeast Missouri State University.

The Dr. Robert W. Hamblin Lecture will be presented each spring in recognition of the outstanding scholarly contributions made by Hamblin to his department, the University and the field of literary studies. Invited lecturers will represent various areas of literary studies.

“I am greatly flattered and deeply honored by the Chamberlains’ gift to the University in my name,” Hamblin said. “I am especially pleased that the lecture series will provide Southeast students the opportunity to interact with some of the outstanding scholars in the field of literary studies. The honor is made even more special for me because it is associated with Dr. Chamberlain, an esteemed colleague and one of the finest teacher-scholars on our campus.”

Dr. Chamberlain added, “Scott and I deeply admire Dr. Hamblin’s outstanding contributions to the Department of English, to the University, and to the discipline of English, contributions which we believe epitomize what is best about literary studies. We wanted to recognize Dr. Hamblin’s exemplary achievements in a way that would both honor him as well as serve as a source of continued inspiration to colleagues, students and the larger community. The Dr. Robert W. Hamblin Lecture will provide an annual forum where both advanced and young scholars may share insights regarding the ever changing discipline of literary studies.” 

Hamblin is professor of English at Southeast Missouri State University, where he has taught since 1965. He also serves as director of the Center for Faulkner Studies which was launched in 1989. The Rare Book Room in Southeast Missouri State University’s Kent Library is home to the Louis Daniel Brodsky William Faulkner Collection, one of the four largest collections of Faulkner materials in the world.

Over the years, Hamblin and Brodsky have produced “Faulkner: A Comprehensive Guide to the Brodsky Collection” (5 vols., UP Mississippi, 1982-1988) and other books, catalogs, articles, exhibits and public lectures based on the materials in the Brodsky Collection.

Hamblin has directed Faulkner seminars for both the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Missouri Humanities Council. He is one of the originators of the “Teaching Faulkner” sessions at the annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference and edits “Teaching Faulkner,” a newsletter devoted to the teaching of Faulkner works in university, college, and high school classes. He has co-edited, with Charles A. Peek, “A William Faulkner Encyclopedia” (Greenwood, 1999) and “A Companion to Faulkner Studies” (Greenwood, 2004); with Stephen Hahn, “Teaching Faulkner: Approaches and Methods” (Greenwood, 2000); with Ann J. Abadie, “Faulkner in the Twenty-First Century” (UP Mississippi, 2003); with A. Nicholas Fargnoli and Michael Golay,”Critical Companion to William Faulkner” (Facts on File, 2008); with Melanie Speight, “Faulkner and Twain” (Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2008); and with Christopher Rieger, “Faulkner and Chopin” (Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2010) .

In 1997, he delivered the keynote address at the Faulkner Centennial Celebration in New Albany, Miss., Faulkner’s birthplace.  In 2005, he led the discussion of “As I Lay Dying” for Oprah Winfrey’s “Summer of Faulkner” and has presented seminars and lectures on Faulkner in England, the Netherlands, Japan, China and Taiwan, as well as throughout the United States.

A native of northeast Mississippi, Hamblin first read Faulkner’s works in T. D. Young’s Southern Literature class at Delta State University in 1959. Later he earned his master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Faulkner’s hometown, completing both his thesis and dissertation on Faulkner topics under the direction of noted Faulkner scholar John Pilkington.

In addition to his Faulkner work, Hamblin has published five volumes of poems: “Crossroads: Poems of a Mississippi Childhood,” “Perpendicular Rain,” “From the Ground Up,” “Mind the Gap: Poems by an American in London,” and “Keeping Score: Sports Poems for Every Season;” a book on the Victorian style house he and his wife, Kaye, have restored in downtown Cape Girardeau, “This House, This Town: One Couple’s Love Affair with an Old House and a Historic Town;” a sports biography, “Win or Win: A Season with Ron Shumate;” a chapbook memoir, “Bless You, My Father;” a number of short stories and personal essays; and critical essays on Mark Twain, Robert Penn Warren, Isaac Singer, Willie Morris, Pat Conroy, and W. P. Kinsella.  He serves as associate editor of “The Cape Rock,” a little magazine of poetry, and from 1984 until 2005 was poetry editor of “Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature.”

Hamblin has also presented numerous public performances of “Preacher in Overalls: The Story of Clarence Jordan and Koinonia Farm,” a Chatauqua-type impersonation of the legendary Baptist preacher who helped to found Koinonia Farm, a biracial fellowship in southwestern Georgia; authored “The Cotton Patch Gospels;” and inspired the beginning of Habitat for Humanity.