English prof heads to Cornell University as distinguished visiting professor

York English Professor Ian Balfour (BA ’75), who has a penchant for British romanticism, will feel right at home this year at Cornell University as the 2010-2011 M.H. Abrams Distinguished Visiting Professor of English.

The professorship, a recent creation at Cornell, was established in honour of American literary critic Meyer Howard (Mike) Abrams, one of the most highly regarded scholars of British romanticism and literary theory. His 1953 classic, The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition, is still much referred to today.

Right: Ian Balfour

Balfour, who will teach graduate and undergraduate courses primarily in the area of British romanticism, is in good company. The previous three holders of the chair are Sandra Gilbert, professor emerita of the University of California, Davis and a former professor at Princeton University; Neil Hertz, professor emeritus of Johns Hopkins University; and Cathy Caruth, the Winship Distinguished Research Professor of Comparative Literature & English at Emory University.

An award-winning author, Balfour has been a visiting scholar at the Getty Research Institute; the University of Cambridge; the University of California, Santa Barbara; the State University of New York, Buffalo; and Stanford University. In addition, he was the Margaret Bundy Scott Visiting Professor of English at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and has been a fellow at Cornell’s Society for the Humanities.

He is the author of Northrop Frye (Twayne Publishers, 1988), The Rhetoric of Romantic Prophecy (Stanford University Press, 2002) and essays on the romantics and popular culture. He is co-editor of Subtitles: On the Foreignness of Film (Mit Press, 2004) with film director Atom Egoyan, as well as And Justice For All?: The Claims of Human Rights, a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly, with Eduardo Cadava.

For more information, e-mail Balfour at ibalfour@yorku.ca.