Gorgeous Evasions

by RW Rudnicki

Tom Deadlight, a founding Gen Xer, dedicated his life to teaching Millennials and Gen Z college students. He picked up hitchhikers and stray animals. He believed in ghosts and panpsychism. But now, in 2075, during the Tech Revolution, he’s been chosen for biorejuvenation to teach at a new kind of university named SAJE that crosses the river between Mississippi and Louisiana.

Paper Edition Copyright 2021 • Revised Cloth Edition with Dust Jacket 2022 • Kindle and Nook


Here’s a brief Bio: 

As a professor of American literature, I specialize in post-1900 fiction and literature of the South. I also teach an awesome science fiction class in which we have fun discussing literary portrayals of historical paradigm shifts as well as imaginative and clever renderings of controversial social issues. I taught at Louisiana Tech University for almost 20 years, where I was an endowed professor. Further, I have also taught at Texas A&M University, Louisiana State University, and Alcorn State University, all representing a diverse career of university teaching of 25 consecutive years. Currently, I am interested in the rhetoric of AI, transhumanism, animal studies, deep ecology, and genomics, as well as the ways our discourse is changing to accommodate these forces that are technological, but also social and linguistic, as we learn to speak, write, interpret, and portray our world no longer strictly in terms of the Anthropocene, but in a new age of the Machinocene. After recently completing some writing on this topic, I am further excited about teaching at Texas Christian University!

I have published essays, reviews, book chapters, and a book on figures such as Walker Percy, William Faulkner, Cormac McCarthy, Robert Penn Warren, Carson McCullers, Ralph Ellison, Richard Ford, Lewis Nordan, several on John Kennedy Toole, and some on Thomas Bell, Charles Olson, Stuart Dybek, and Jericho Brown. My writing has appeared mostly in the Mississippi Quarterly, the Southern Quarterly, the Faulkner Journal, the South Central Review, and the Arkansas Review. My work has appeared in books by Louisiana State University Press and the University of Alabama Press, and in a digital edition by eBooks on EBSCOhost, which is accessible online through almost all university libraries.

Many of my essays have been reprinted and made available through the global service known as The Free Library, which is especially significant to me in the sense that no purchase or subscription is required, no on-site visit at a university library is required, and no enrollment at a college or university and no tuition is required. Further, Google easily translates the document into any language. Anyone in the world only needs an Internet connection and an interest in higher education to access them. For example, one essay uses both literal architecture and house metaphors in William Faulkner, Cormac McCarthy, and Nietzsche to understand the relationship between humanism and postmodernism. Read it here!: TheFreeLibrary.com.

My work has also been quoted in many scholarly books over the years, including ones by the presses of the University of Georgia, University of Tennessee, University of Alabama, Louisiana State University, Wesleyan University, and Oxford University. Most recently, Roberto Masone, in his 2017 Cambridge Scholars Press book, Marlene NourbeSe Philip, Linton Kwesi Johnson and the Dismantling of the English Norm, applies discourse analysis to translation, semantic, and Caribbean studies issues in works such as Zong! Masone employs one of my descriptions of fugue, “an escape from one mode of consciousness to another, and a literal escape from home to a new or unfamiliar place,” to “better understand” the “fantastic state disclosed by” Philip’s “writing technique” (68). Yet without digging deeper, in her 2018 Lexington Press book, The Pursuit of Happiness and the American Regime: Political Theory in Literature, Elizabeth S. Amato decides, “in a discussion of Percy’s theory of re-entry, suicide, and The Second Coming, Robert W. Rudnicki borrows the list of selves presented in the twenty questions quiz” (98-99). I’m just happy that my work, whether older or more recent, is still engaging readers and emerging scholars!

My most recent publication is a long essay-interview with the poet Jericho Brown, which appears in Mississippi Quarterly Spring 2017/18 Vol. 70/71 No. 2, and was published November 2019—the first critical essay on Jericho Brown to appear in an esteemed scholarly journal. I arranged and wrote the essay so it would appear on the 100th-year anniversary of H. L. Mencken’s famous essay, “Sahara of the Bozart” (1917 & 1920), in which he lampooned the US “Godawful South” for its complete absence of art and culture of any kind, of “beaux arts,” but of course the historical irony was that Faulkner and many Southern Renaissance figures were on the cusp of emerging. I chose Professor Brown to interview (and he graciously agreed) to ask him, and especially MQ readers, if he and today’s poets and writers of the South might represent a second, or 21st-century “southern renaissance,” one indebted to the first, but profoundly new.

Jericho Brown, by the way, went on to win the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry! My revealing interview with him can be read right here at TheFreeLibrary.com!

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I can be contacted at the following email address about these or other books or essays:

rwrudnicki@gmail.com || R.W. Rudnicki, PhD   

Selected Publications

The Faulkner Journal
LSU Press
U Alabama Press

American Lit & Scifi Courses & Resources