Carton, Evan 1953-

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Carton, Evan 1953-


Born August 2, 1953, in Bellefonte, PA; son of Edwin Beck and Lonnie Frances Carton; married Janis Bergman, December 28, 1974; children: Jacqueline, Rebecca. Education: Columbia College, B.A., 1974; Johns Hopkins University, M.A., 1976, Ph.D., 1979. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Jewish. Hobbies and other interests: Travel, tennis, movies, music.


Office—Department of English, University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station, B5000 Austin, TX 78712. E-mail—[email protected]


Writer, educator. University of Texas, Austin, instructor, 1978-79, assistant professor, 1979-85, associate professor, 1985-91. professor, 1991—, Joan Negley Kelleher Centennial Professorship in Rhetoric and Composition. University of Lancaster, Lancaster, England, Fulbright lecturer, 1980-81; University of Utah, Salt Lake City, visiting associate professor, 1986; Austin Independent School District, curriculum developer, 1991-92; University of Texas, Brownsville, program developer, 1993. University of Texas Humanities Institute, founder, director, 2001—. American-Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, Washington, DC, member of advisory board, 1982-93; Austin Society for Humanistic Judaism, educational and religious director, 1989.


Modern Language Association, American Association of University Professors, American Literature Association.


Fulbright fellow, 1980-81; Guggenheim fellow, 1991-92; Best Books of 2006 list, Kirkus Reviews, Robert W. Hamilton Book Award for best book of the year by a University of Texas faculty member, University Cooperative Society, 2007, both for Patriotic Treason: John Brown and the Soul of America.


The Rhetoric of American Romance: Dialectic and Identity in Emerson, and Dickinson, Poe, and Hawthorne, John Hopkins University Press (Baltimore, MD), 1985.

The Marble Faun: Hawthorne's Transformations, Twayne Publishers (New York, NY), 1992.

(Editor, with Alan W. Friedman) Situating College English: Lessons from an American University, Bergin & Garvey (Westport, CT), 1996.

(With Gerald Graff and Robert von Hallberg) The Cambridge History of American Literature, Volume 8: Poetry and Criticism, 1940-1995, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1996.

(Editor, with Sylvia Gale) Writing Austin's Lives: A Community Portrait, Waterloo Press, 2004.

Patriotic Treason: John Brown and the Soul of America, Free Press (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor of chapters to scholarly books, including When Boys Cry: Revisiting American Masculinity, edited by Milette Shamir and Jennifer Travis, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 2002; and Historicizing Theory, edited by Peter Herman, State University of New York Press (New York, NY), 2004. Contributor of articles to journals, including American Literature, Raritan, Tikkun, American Literary History, and ESQ.


Evan Carton is an English professor who specializes in nineteenth-and twentieth-century American literature and literary history. The author of numerous books of criticism, Carton published a biography of the famous American abolitionist, John Brown, in 2006. In Patriotic Treason: John Brown and the Soul of America, Carton explores several long-term interests, including race relations in the United States, transcendentalism, and the abolitionist movement.

In October of 1859, Brown staged a raid on the U.S. arsenal at Harper's Ferry, Virginia, an attack meant to cause slaves to rise against their masters en masse. He was hanged for treason several months later. Though the attack itself failed, Brown did manage to put slavery at the forefront of a long overdue national discussion. During the Civil War, "John Brown's Body" became something of an iconic hymn and marching song for the Northern army, and Brown himself became a symbol, over time, of resistance to slavery and the abolitionist movement. Writing in the Tacoma, Washington, News Tribune, Pat McCoid found Carton's work an "engrossing and thorough narrative history," detailing the background and the repercussions to Brown's raid. McCoid further wrote, "What makes Brown's story compelling is his unwavering dedication to an ideal." Carton makes abundant use of letters by Brown, his family, and friends in Patriotic Treason to provide a portrait of Brown both as a failed family man and a devoted activist. "I wanted to write a human story, not just a stereotype," Carton explained to America's Intelligence Wire contributor Jamie Mayes. Michael O'Donnell, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, noted: "Throughout the book, Carton emphasizes Brown's deep Calvinist faith as well as his status as something of a deadbeat dad (antislavery work took him away from his family for months at a time)." A contributor for Publishers Weekly felt Patriotic Treason is "an absorbing and inspiring, though not wholly innovative, biography." Higher praise came from Booklist contributor Margaret Flanagan, who termed the biography an "intriguing portrait," and from a Kirkus Reviews critic who praised the work as a "bold account," as well as a "rare humanizing of an icon."



America's Intelligence Wire, June 11, 2003, "U. Texas-Austin: English Professor Records Austin's Oral Narratives"; September 13, 2006, Jamie Mayes, review of Patriotic Treason: John Brown and the Soul of America.

Booklist, August 1, 2006, Margaret Flanagan, review of Patriotic Treason, p. 31.

Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2006, review of Patriotic Treason, p. 610.

Library Journal, July 1, 2006, Theresa McDevitt, review of Patriotic Treason, p. 87.

News Tribune (Tacoma, WA), November 19, 2006, Pat McCoid, review of Patriotic Treason.

Publishers Weekly, June 5, 2006, review of Patriotic Treason, p. 48.

San Francisco Chronicle, October 23, 2006, Michael O'Donnell, review of Patriotic Treason.


Austin Chronicle, (October 27, 2006), Spencer Parsons, "The War at Home."

BookPage, (April 9, 2007), Roger Bishop, review of Patriotic Treason.

Curled Up with a Good Book, (April 9, 2007), Barbara Bamberger Scott, review of Patriotic Treason.

University of Texas at Austin Department of English Web site, (April 9, 2007), faculty profile of author.