Dr. Cowan is a Professor of Literature at the University of Dallas, where he holds the Louise Cowan Chair in Humanities. A Fellow of the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, he has given more than 50 invited lectures on literature. He is the author of Exiled Waters: “Moby-Dick” and the Crisis of Allegory
and has also edited five books, including Poetics of the Americas
and The Prospect of Lyric,
in addition to publishing numerous articles on American and Latin American literature, literary theory, Sophocles, Virgil, Dante, Goethe, and the classics of India and China. Dr. Cowan’s animating vision has been the great forms of the poetic imagination and their deep unity in the human soul, and he has sought to bring that priceless realization to as many people as possible. Keynote Address ~ The Gift of Tragedy: Its Place in Education and Culture
Why suffer tragedy? The dark plunge into tragic suffering offers more than sympathy or radical chic. The braving of this personal destruction has often been associated with giving birth to an advance in the capability of the human race, and the example of tragedy has been decisive for the character formation of novel protagonists, modeling for their readers the fruitful witnessing of tragedy.Workshop ~ Moby Dick: Meditations and Language
Melville’s great novel provides example after example of the art of meditation on common and maritime experiences, and along the way, he shows how poets at their best renew our language in responsive and surprising ways.