Emeritus Appointment
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Moreland Hall

Moreland Hall 238

2550 SW Jefferson Way

2550 SW Jefferson Way
Corvallis, OR 97331

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Biography

During his teaching career, Robert Wess chaired the effort that brought the MA to the English Department, now the School of Writing, Literature, and Film. Retired, his scholarly career continues. To see selections, click “Beyond OSU,” then “Academia Profile,” which will take you to his site at academia.edu. The minor strand in this scholarship stems from his training in Neo‑Aristotelian criticism at the University of Chicago under Sheldon Sacks, founding editor of Critical Inquiry. This strand began with criticism of his Neo‑Aristotelian predecessors (“The Probable and the Marvelous in Tom Jones.” Modern Philology 68.1 [1970]: 32‑45). The major strand, more theoretical and philosophical, stems from the influence of Richard McKeon’s philosophizing of rhetoric, which led to the study of Kenneth Burke (2 books, 13 articles and book chapters, 3 reviews). Wess attended the 1984 conference at which the Kenneth Burke Society (KBS) was formed, received KBS’s Distinguished Service Award in 1999, served on KBS’s Executive Committee from 2002 to 2011, and was KBS President from 2005 to 2008. While work on Burke continues, current work aims primarily to evaluate and advance the metaphysical turn that appears to be underway at the present time and that would provide a foundation for ecocriticism in an age of ecological crisis. Wess is juxtaposing the linguistic and metaphysical turns to inquire into what philosophical turns reveal about philosophy in general and today’s metaphysical turn in particular. 

At OSU
Affiliated with: 
Sch of Wrtg Lit & Film
Beyond OSU