Tim Ryan

Tim Ryan

Associate Professor
20th Century American Literature & Culture, Modernism, African American Literature, Southern Studies 

Office: RH 227
Email: tryan@niu.edu

Educational Background

  • Ph.D. University of Nevada, Reno; 2004
  • M.A. University of Nevada, Reno; 2000
  • B.A. University of Reading, England; 1993

Professional Interests

  • Modernist, Southern & African American Literature; Blues, Jazz and Popular Music between the World Wars; the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Research Interests

My research operates at the intersections between modernist, southern, and African American literatures and cultures. I explore the interrelationships between canonical literary texts and such forms as historiography, film, and, above all, popular music, elucidating intertextual, interdisciplinary, and interracial dialogues in American culture of the first half of the twentieth century. My amphitextual readings explore the ways in which culture creates and shapes textual meaning while also emphasizing the inherent value and complexities of the text itself, whether literary or popular.


I have published on such writers and artists as William Faulkner, Zora Neale Hurston, Charley Patton, Alexander Woollcott, Willa Cather, and Billie Holiday. 

Selected Publications


Yoknapatawpha Blues: Faulkner’s Fiction and Southern Roots Music. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 2015. Forthcoming.

Calls and Responses: The American Novel of Slavery since Gone With the Wind. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 2008.
Winner of the Jules & Frances Landry Award

Articles and Book Chapters

“Screwball Curves and Blues Licks: Hollywood Comedy and African American Music in Faulkner and Hurston.” Faulkner and Hurston. Ed. Christopher Rieger and Andrew Leiter. Cape Girardeau: Southeast Missouri State UP, 2016. 

Contact us

Northern Illinois University
Department of English
Reavis Hall, Room 215
DeKalb, IL 60115

815-753-0606 (Fax)