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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Religious Studies

Kevin Lewis

Distinguished Professor Emeritus: Ph.D. University of Chicago, 1980 -- Religion and Culture

Trained in the sub-field, Religion. Literature, and the Arts, Lewis conducts an evolving program of undergraduate and graduate teaching, cross-disciplinary scholarship, and individualized guidance of MA students. (His U. of Chicago dissertation addresses the Protestant character and formal strategy of longer poems of William Blake and W.H. Auden.)

His interests are not limited to primary specialization in religious dimensions of nineteenth- and twentieth-century literatures in English or translation, especially poetry. Lewis maintains a teaching and writing interest in religion in the South from a cultural perspective, in apocalypse, and in Blake.


Kevin in Warsaw, where he led the Poland tour for SC secondary school teachers in July 2013. He is sitting with the statue of Jan Karski of the Polish underground, credited with being the first eyewitness reporter to the Allies of the horrifying scope of Nazi atrocities in the Warsaw Ghetto and the "Final Solution" death camps during WWII. Cf. Karski's book, Story of a Secret State (1944).

Lewis's recently published, "American Lonesomeness,” probes the religious-like moment in images of loneliness transcended across the American arts: poetry, fiction, country music, and the “luminist” painting of Edward Hopper. This is a current expression of his larger project: development of writing strategies for presenting research results in Religion and Literature. Lewis was interviewd by Jack Kuenzie with WISTV in December 2010 on American lonesomeness (see the video).

His Selected Publications indicate others. The 1999 essay, “Nathanael West and American Apocalyptic” offers, in miniature, an example of an approach he employs. Another, from 1997, is: “On the Heresy of Literalism”. His poem , “Lovesick Blues”, won honorable mention in the University of Chicago Alumni Poetry Contest, Spring 2003. Another, "Easter Noon", won first place in the Lake Murray Magazine annual writing contest, September, 2005.

Lewis is a member of the consulting faculty Comparative Literature, of the associate faculty of Women and Gender Studies, and has served on 27 committees for PhDs completed in English. He served on the board of H-Arete, the discussion list supported by the Sport Literature Association. In January 2001 he began a Governor's appointment to the South Carolina Holocaust Council. Each of his six students in RELG 572: Religious Classics (Fall 1999) contributed an essay on one of the seven deadly sins — have a look. He enjoyed a third Visiting Fellowship in Wolfson College in 2012.

Since his USC appointment in 1973, Lewis has taken four separate years away: as Visiting Fellow in Trevelyan College, U. of Durham, England (1985-86); Fulbright Senior Lecturer in American Literature at the Jagiellonian University, in Krakow (1988-89); Fulbright Senior Lecturer in American Literature at the Islamic U. of Gaza (Fall 1998), Research Fellow in Wolfson College, Cambridge (Spring 1999), and a research sabbatical in Amman, Jordan (Fall 2005), followed by a second fellowship in Wolfson College, Cambridge (Spring 2006).

He and his wife, Becky, served as start-up Principals of USC's first residential college, Preston (1995-98). They taught together, each a full load, at the IUG (Fall 1998), and were appointed jointly to the governing board of the Nineteenth Century Studies Association (NCSA) in 2003. Becky, PhD., English, USC, holds an appointment in English and Women's Studies with USC's Academic Credit Programs/ Continuing Education, and was Fulbright Senior Lecturer at the University of Jordan in Amman (Fall 2005).

In fairly regular rotation, Dr. Lewis teaches courses in:

Queries, comments, greetings, critical discussion welcome by email: