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Gary  Richards - University of Mary Washington. Fredericksburg, VA, US

Gary Richards

Professor of English | University of Mary Washington

Fredericksburg, VA, UNITED STATES

Dr. Richards' research focuses on Southern literature.



Gary  Richards Publication



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Gary Richards has published widely on Southern literature and culture. His book, "Lovers and Beloveds: Sexual Otherness in Southern Fiction, 1936-1961" (Louisiana State University Press, 2005), interrogates how mid-20th-century Southern writers such as Truman Capote, Richard Wright, Lillian Smith, Carson McCullers, and Harper Lee represent regional sexualities. One of the first book-length studies to look at these representations of same-sex desire, it was as named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title in 2005.

He also has contributed chapters of several books, including “Southern Drama” in The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of the American South (Cambridge University Press, 2013), “Everybody’s Graphic Protest Novel: Stuck Rubber Baby and the Anxieties of Racial Difference” in Comics and the U.S. South (University Press of Mississippi, 2012), and “The Artful and Crafty Ones of the French Quarter: Male Homosexuality and the Faulkner’s Early Prose Writings” in Faulkner’s Sexualities (University Press of Mississippi, 2010). His essay “Tennessee Williams and the Burden of Southern Sexuality Studies” is forthcoming in The Oxford Handbook of U.S. Southern Literature (Oxford University Press, 2016). He has also published essays and reviews in American Literary History, Journal of American Studies, Journal of Southern Religion, Mississippi Quarterly, North Carolina Literary Review, Southern Literary Journal, and Southern Quarterly, among other publications, and made over fifty conference presentations.

Dr. Richards is currently at work on a survey of literary representations of male same-sex desire as imagined in the literature of New Orleans, including that of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Kate Chopin, William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, John Kennedy Toole, and a range of contemporary writers, such as Anne and Christopher Rice.

He teaches courses in Southern literature, modern American fiction, American humor, and contemporary American fiction and drama as well as seminars in William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, and Stephen Sondheim. For this teaching, Professor Richards received the 2003 International Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Teaching at the University of New Orleans and the 2012 Mary W. Pinschmidt Award at the University of Mary Washington. The latter is chosen by students to denote the professor they “are most likely to remember as the one who had the greatest impact on our lives.”

Areas of Expertise (8)

Contemporary Drama


Harper Lee

Sexuality Studies

Tennessee Williams

The American Musical

Southern Literature and Culture

American Fiction

Accomplishments (2)

Richards Presents at Southern Literature Conference (professional)


Gary Richards, associate professor of English and chair of the Department of English, Linguistics, and Communication, presented the paper "From Hairspray to Hamilton: Productions of Southernness in the Contemporary Broadway Musical" at the Society for the Study of Southern Literature Conference, themed "The South in the North," that met in Boston on March 10-12.

Richards Presents on Carson McCullers in Rome (professional)


Gary Richards presented at the Carson McCullers in the World: A Centenary Conference, held in Rome, Italy, July 14-16, 2017. His paper, Clock without Hands, Go Set a Watchman, and the Queering of Southern Integration, juxtaposed McCullers' final novel with the apprenticeship novel of fellow Southern writer Harper Lee to examine these women's writers most significant contributions to what has come to be called civil rights literature.

Education (3)

Vanderbilt University: Ph.D., Graduate Studies

Vanderbilt University: M.A., Graduate Studies

Trinity University (San Antonio): B.A., Undergraduate Studies

Media Appearances (4)

Truman Capote's first novel is this year's One Book, One Festival selection; Festival is Oct. 28

The Advocate  online


Dr. Gary Richards, who has led many previous sessions since One Book, One Festival began in 2008, returns to moderate the discussion. Richards is a professor of English and former chair of the Department of English and Linguistics at the University of Mary Washington. This will be the 11th time he’s led the One Book, One Festival discussion.

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Bookstore kicks off wait for new Harper Lee novel with read-a-thon of 'To Kill a Mockingbird'

The Free Lance-Star  print


In an interview earlier this month, before any part of the book had been released, University of Mary Washington English professor Gary Richards, an expert on Southern literature and culture, predicted Lee’s own life would continue to influence “Watchman” as it had “Mockingbird.”

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UMW to offer talk on Jane Austen's Emma

The Free Lance-Star  print


The University of Mary Washington’s Department of English, Linguistics, and Communication will host author and professor Juliette Wells for a talk on Jane Austen’s novel “Emma” on Tuesday, Oct. 20.

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The best-selling Washington writer you’ve never heard of

The Washington Post  print


Though Gary — Professor Richards to his students at the University of Mary Washington — has taught “The Hidden Hand” in Southern literature surveys, Southworth has been largely forgotten outside academia.

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