Cultural Revolutions

Mark Royden Winchell, R.I.P.

Mark Winchell, literary scholar, biographer, essayist, and occasional contributor to Chronicles, passed from this realm in May after a brave two-year battle with cancer.  With four books out in just the last two years and at barely 60 years of age, Mark was just coming into the prime of his productive career.  His official title, professor of literature and European civilization at Clemson University, does not begin to cover his accomplishments: a half-dozen literary biographies, including studies of Cleanth Brooks, Donald Davidson (completing a project begun by M.E. Bradford), and one just published on Robert Penn Warren; dozens of articles in scholarly and popular journals on just about every significant American writer of the 20th and 19th centuries and many other subjects; coauthorship of the memoirs of Sen. Herman Tallmadge; the founding of the South Carolina Review; serving as director of The League of the South Institute for the Study of Southern History and Culture.

A native of Ohio, Dr. Winchell came to Vanderbilt to study with the second (and last) generation of Southern Agrarians in its English department.  His primary interest was in Southern literature, though he wrote with liveliness and insight on a wide variety of other subjects.  George Garrett described Winchell’s recent book of literary essays, Reinventing the South, as “high intelligence joining wit, good humor, and common...

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