Skip to main content
Robert Lamb

Robert Lamb

Professor // English

Affiliated Faculty // American Studies // SIS

Office and Contact

Ph.D., History of American Civilization, Harvard University, 1988


American Literature

Research Areas:
American fiction 1791-1955; Euro-American realism, naturalism, and modernism; the short story; race and ethnicity; Jewish American Literature; American Studies; American social, cultural, and intellectual history, 1765-1974; American political thought; popular culture; film studies; sports culture


Bob Lamb grew up in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx and has also lived in Hartford, Connecticut and Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is the author of James G. Birney and the Road to Abolitionism (full-issue monograph, Alabama Review 1994), Art Matters: Hemingway, Craft, and the Creation of the Modern Short Story (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2010, xvii + 273 pp., paperback 2011), The Hemingway Short Story: A Study in Craft for Writers and Readers (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2013, xvii + 233 pp.), and twenty-four articles on Melville, Whitman, Mark Twain, Frank Norris, naturalism, Hemingway, Langston Hughes, literary theory, pedagogy, and film in such journals as College Literature, Journal of American Studies, Modern Fiction Studies, Hemingway Review, Twentieth Century Literature, South Atlantic Quarterly, Southern Review, ATQ, Poe Studies/Dark Romanticism, Midwest Quarterly, and Studies in Short Fiction. He is also co-editor, with G. R. Thompson, of A Companion to American Fiction, 1865-1914 (Oxford and Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2005, xvii + 622 pp., paperback 2009), a groundbreaking collection of twenty-nine new essays, to which he contributed the chapter on Mark Twain. His two Hemingway books and the Companion were awarded Choice’s highest rating of “Essential to all readers”; and Art Matters was selected by Choice as an "Outstanding Academic Title for 2010," praised as "literary criticism at its very finest" in a feature review in Twentieth-Century Literature, and named one of the 75 best books ever published by LSU on the press’s sesquicentennial celebration. He is near completion of a new book entitled “Huckleberry Finn in the Twenty-First Century: Mark Twain, Jim Watson, and Race," and he is also working on a book tentatively entitled, "Fettered Eagle: Subjectivity and Cultural Critique in the Works of Samuel Langhorne Clemens." Bob has served on 73 doctoral dissertation committees (23 as chair) and 21 master’s thesis committees (9 as chair) since arriving at Purdue in 1991. Seventeen of these dissertations, eight of which he chaired, have since been published as books. Sixty-two of his undergraduates have also gone on to doctoral programs in English, American Studies, and African American Studies. The recipient of Harvard University's Bowdoin Graduate Prize for Dissertations, he has received fifty teaching awards, including The Stephen Botein Prize for Teaching Excellence (Harvard 1988), The School of Liberal Arts Departmental Award for Educational Excellence (Purdue 1997), and the University Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching in Honor of Charles B. Murphy (Purdue 1998), and he was inducted into Purdue’s The Book of Great Teachers in 2003. In 2008, Bob was named the Indiana Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, the only national award for undergraduate teaching, which is given to only one Indiana professor in any discipline each year.  Bob lives with two former stray kitties, Elizabeth Boyd Lamb, an intense, intellectually gifted tortoise-shell hellion, and Simone Nicole Lamb, a classy, philosophically reserved but playful seal-point Siamese. The three of them enjoy bird watching, ping pong ball soccer, hide-and-go seek, cheering for the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants on tv, grooming each other, and listening to blues, jazz, and rock 'n' roll (especially Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young).