Brian Barbour


Brian Barbour is a third-generation Lorainite. Barbour was born in 1943 and was educated at St Anthony's School and St Mary's High School where he was taught by Frank Jacinto. At St Mary's he captained the basketball team and was president of the National Honor Society and the Student Council. He graduated from Notre Dame in 1965 with a degree in English. At Notre Dame his mentor was the famous teacher Frank O'Malley.  During his college summers he worked at Ford and at the steel plant (where his father and grandfather had worked before him). After a short and disappointing stint in Peace Corps training at UCLA, he went to graduate school at Kent State. His Ph.D dissertation was on William Faulkner.

In 1969 Barbour began teaching at Providence College; since 1979 he has been Professor of English. At Providence College he founded the American Studies Program, has chaired the English Department, and for ten years was Director of the Development of Western Civilization Program. He has had a National Endowment for the Humanities post-doctoral fellowship at Brown University and in 1993 he was a visiting member of the English faculty at Cambridge University. Since 1993 he has been a Visiting Fellow of St Edmund's College, Cambridge.

Barbour's criticism combines close analysis of the literary text with broad awareness of the intellectual background behind it. He is generally concerned with how ideas - especially philosophical and theological ideas - are dramatized in literary works. His early scholarship was exclusively in American literature but his recent work has ranged more widely with articles on William Wordsworth, Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn, Flannery O'Connor, and C.S. Lewis. He has published papers in many journals, including The Southern Review, The Southern Literary Journal, Renascence, Modern Language Quarterly, Nineteenth Century Literature, New Oxford Review, Modern Philology and many others. He is the former editor of the journal Providence: Studies in Western Civilization and has edited three books - American Transcendentalism (Notre Dame); Benjamin Franklin (Prentice-Hall); and Gaining Upon Certainty: Selected Literary Criticism of René Fortin (Providence College). He has also edited a textbook, Readings in Western Civilization (Tapestry Press).

Married and the father of three sons, Barbour lives in Esmond, Rhode Island - in exile from Lorain - where he still weeps and bleeds over the Indians.


Brian Barbour has edited four books, including one textbook, Readings in Western Civilization.

He wrote the following books:

  • American Transcendentalism: An Anthology of Criticism. Notre Dame and London: University of Notre Dame Press (1973)
  • Benjamin Franklin: A Collection of Critical Essays. (1979)
  • Gaining Upon Certainty : Selected Literary Criticism. (1995)