Bowdoin College Appoints an Edward Little Professor of the English Language and Literature

Story posted March 15, 1999


March 8, 1999, BRUNSWICK, Maine -- William C. Watterson has been named the Edward Little Professor of the English Language and Literature at Bowdoin College. He is the seventh person to hold the title since 1897.

Watterson has taught at Bowdoin since 1976. In addition to being a respected teacher, he is an accomplished poet. His poetry has been published in "The New Yorker," "The Sewanee Review," "The Kenyon Review," "Poetry," "Habitat," "Plains Poetry Journal" and other journals. His first collection of poetry, "For the Dark," was published in 1992, and a second collection is being considered by a publisher.

"Bill is one of the most gifted and devoted colleagues I've had the privilege to work with," said Charles R. Beitz, Dean for Academic Affairs. "His Shakespeare courses are legendary. His intellectual contributions reflect an almost unique range of interests, from Renaissance and 17th-century literary criticism to original poetry of uncommon sensitivity. He has been a great, even an exemplary, college citizen. We are all lucky to count Bill as a colleague."

Watterson specializes in Shakespeare, English Renaissance literature, film, contemporary American poetry and poetry writing. He has published articles in many scholarly journals, including "Milton Quarterly" and "Hamlet Studies," and has written portions of several books including "Studies in the American Renaissance" and "Shakespeare's Christian Dimension." He is a member of the Shakespeare Association of America and is working on a book titled "Art and Artists in Shakespeare's plays." He has a contract to write a book on Shakespeare's sonnets, and he is associate editor of "Shakespeare in the Classroom Newsletter."

During much of the 1980s, Watterson worked with the Maine Department of Educational and Cultural Services on the Maine Summer Humanities Program, a residential program held on the Bowdoin campus for gifted and talented high school students.

Watterson graduated cum laude with high honors in English from Kenyon College, where he was awarded the John Dehnam Sutcliffe Prize in English. He earned his doctorate at Brown University. While studying at Brown he received the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship and a University Fellowship.

An Edward Little Chair in mental and moral philosophy was established in 1874, and in 1897 the position of Edward Little Professor of the English Language and Literature was created. The first Edward Little Professor was Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, who was a Civil War hero and a president of Bowdoin College. The last Edward Little Professor was named in 1975.

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