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Donald Riggs

Donald Riggs, PhD

Teaching Professor of English
Department of English and Philosophy
Office: 5016 MacAlister Hall

Additional Sites:


  • PhD, Comparative Literature, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 1982
  • MA, English-Creative Writing, Temple University, 1997
  • MA, Comparative Literature, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 1977
  • BA, Interdepartmental Major in Myth, Dickinson College, 1974


I am currently writing a series of entries for an Encyclopedia of Literary and Cinematic Monsters; my entries are on Tolkien’s Monsters, Fauns and Satyrs, the Sphinx, and Gargantua and Pantagruel. I have recently written an entry on Philip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly and Richard Linklater’s film version of that novel by the same title. Much of my scholarly work deals with the Fantastic in the arts, both science fiction and fantasy, in literature and in film. I have recently published poems online in Orizon Literar (Bucharest) and write a regular column on poetry for the online journal Press 1.

Favorite Authors and/or Books: J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings; George R.R. Martin, A Song of Ice and Fire; Lawrence Block, When the Sacred Ginmill Closes; C.S. Forrester, Beat to Quarters, Ship of the Line, Flying Colours; Phillis Levin, ed., The Penguin Book of the Sonnet

Favorite Musical Artists: James Taylor, George Harrison, Bert Jansch, Vladimir Horowitz, Charles Mingus, Thelonius Monk, Keith Jarrett, Joni Mitchell, Shadowfax

Personal Interests and Hobbies: walking, reading, writing, listening to music, drawing, looking at art, watching movies, letting time pass

A Favorite Quote: “This above all: to thine own self be true, and then it follows as the night the day thou canst not be false to any man.”

Favorite TV Show: “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle”

One thing that makes me smile is: somebody else smiling at me.

A Pet Peeve: When they neglect to give the day’s weather report during a pledge drive at WHYY.

One hidden talent is: playing the bones.

One reason I like my job is: it gives me a home base between movies.

Selected Publications:

  • Review of Tolkien Studies: An Annual Scholarly Review VI. Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts 21.3 (2010). 472-475.
  • “Making Things out of Words” (Regular column in Press 1 from 4.1 [May -August 2010 to 2013])
  • “Bracket Out the World” and “Two of Swords” (poems). Press 1 3.3 (January-April 2013)
  • “Memento Vitae” (six poems). Orizont Literar 2.9 (November-December 2009) ed. Daniel Dragomirescu. Bucharest, Romania. 48-50.
  • “Mitchison, Naomi Haldane.” encyclopedia entry in Women in Science Fiction and Fantasy, ed. Robin Anne Reid. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2009. II: 226-227.