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Dr. Morrison has two books published

Morrison_E.jpgMorehead State University’s Dr. Ronald D. Morrison, professor of English, has published two books from major academic presses in the last three months. 

With co-editor Laurence W. Mazzeno, president emeritus of Alvernia University, Morrison published “Victorian Writers and the Environment: Ecocritical Perspectives” in December. The book, published by Routledge, features essays by 14 scholars from the U.S., England and Australia that focus on the ways in which Victorian writers wrote about both natural and human-created environments.

The term “environment” emerged in the 19th century, at the very time that Victorian writers often expressed concerns about the degradation of the natural environment due to industrialization, as well as the cultural effects on human environments. The essays in the volume focus on a range of well-known Victorian writers, such as Charles Dickens, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Alfred Tennyson, Christina Rossetti and John Ruskin, as well as a number of lesser-known Victorian novelists and poets. Included in the collection is Morrison’s essay on Richard Jefferies, a Victorian novelist and journalist who wrote extensively on agriculture and nature in the 19th century. Morrison and Mazzeno also wrote the introduction to the volume.

In March, Morrison and Mazzeno published “Animals in Victorian Literature and Culture: Contexts for Criticism.”  This book, published by Palgrave/Macmillan, features essays by 12 international scholars who focus on canonical writers such as Charles Dickens, Emily Brontë, Anthony Trollope, Christina Rossetti and Anna Sewell, as well as several lesser-known writers. Essay topics include the development of the animal protection movement, the importation of animals from the expanding British Empire, the acclimatization of British animals in other countries, and the problems associated with increasing pet ownership. This volume includes a reprinted essay by Morrison on Dickens and the campaign to close down Smithfield Market in the heart of London at mid-century. Morrison and Mazzeno also wrote the introduction to the volume.

“It was something of a happy accident that these two books came out within a few months of each other,” said Morrison. “The Routledge book was delayed for several months for reasons beyond our control.  But the two books complement each other very well, and in fact several of the essays in the Routledge book focus on animals. Right now, there is significant overlap between ecocritical (or environmental) approaches to literature and criticism influenced by the burgeoning field of Animal Studies. Larry and I are very happy to make a significant contribution to both subfields, and in fact we have a third proposal under review already.”

Morrison has been an MSU professor since 1988.  He was awarded the University’s Distinguished Research Award in 2004.  He served as the University’s faculty regent from 2008-14, and is a former chair of the MSU Faculty Senate. 

To learn more about MSU's Department of English, visit