In Memoriam: M. Thomas Inge

M. Thomas Inge

Pioneering popular-culture scholar Milton Thomas Inge died May 15, 2021, in Richmond, Virginia, after suffering a fall at home.  He was born March 18, 1936, in Newport News, Virginia.  He received his B.A. in English and Spanish from Randolph-Macon College, in Ashland, Virginia, in 1959.  He received M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Vanderbilt University in 1960 and 1964.

Tom served as an Instructor of English at Vanderbilt from 1962 to 1964, then as an Assistant and later Associate Professor of American Thought and Language at Michigan State University from 1964 to 1969.  He was an Associate and later Full Professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University from 1969 to 1980 and chaired the English Department from 1974 to 1980.  He was Professor and Chair of the Department of English at Clemson University from 1980 to 1984, then the Robert Emory Blackwell Professor of English and Humanities at Randolph-Macon College from 1984 until his death.  He was a Resident Scholar in American Studies for the United States Information Agency from 1982 to 1984 and directed the USIA Summer Institute in American Studies in 1993, 1994, and 1995.

Tom’s many books include Donald Davidson: An Essay and a Bibliography (coauthor Thomas Daniel Young, Vanderbilt University Press, 1965); George Washington Harris’s High Times and Hard Times: Sketches and Tales (edited, Vanderbilt University Press, 1967); Agrarianism in American Literature (edited, Odyssey Press, 1969); Donald Davidson (coauthor Thomas Daniel Young, Twayne Publishers, 1971); the landmark three-volume Handbook of American Popular Culture (edited, Greenwood Press, 1978-1981; 2nd ed., 1989); Concise Histories of American Popular Culture (edited, Greenwood Press, 1982); Handbook of American Popular Literature (edited, Greenwood Press, 1988); Comics as Culture (University Press of Mississippi, 1990); Faulkner, Sut, and Other Southerners: Essays in Literary History (Locust Hill Press, 1992); Perspectives on American Culture: Essays on Humor, Literature, and the Popular Arts (Locust Hill Press, 1994); Anything Can Happen in a Comic Strip (Ohio State University Libraries, University Press of Mississippi, and Randolph-Macon College, 1995); Charles M. Schulz: Conversations (edited, University Press of Mississippi, 2000); The Humor of the Old South (coedited with Edward J. Piacentino, University Press of Kentucky, 2001); The Greenwood Guide to American Popular Culture (coedited with Dennis Hall, Greenwood Press, 2002); William Faulkner (Overlook Duckworth, 2006); Literature (editor, University of North Carolina Press, 2008, volume 9 in The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture); Charles M. Schulz’s My Life with Charlie Brown (edited, University Press of Mississippi, 2010); and Will Eisner: Conversations (edited, University Press of Mississippi, 2011).

Tom published dozens of scholarly articles and book chapters.  Among the journals in which he published are American Literature, American Studies International, the International Journal of Comic Art, the Journal of American Culture, the Journal of Ethnic Studies, the Journal of Popular Culture, the Journal of Popular Film and Television, the Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, PMLA, the South Atlantic Review, Studies in American Culture, and Studies in Popular Culture.  In addition, Tom published articles in Studies in American Humor and edited that journal for four years.  He founded the journal Resources for American Literary Study in 1971 and the book series “Studies in Popular Culture,” “Great Comic Artists,” and “Conversations with Comic Artists” for the University Press of Mississippi.  He edited the book series “American Critical Archives” for Cambridge University Press.  He was a founder of the American Humor Studies Association and the Southern Studies Forum of the European Association for American Studies.

The M. Thomas Inge Papers are held as part of the Comic Arts Collection at the Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries.  Tom is profiled by Michael Dunne in Pioneers in Popular Culture Studies, edited by Ray B. Browne and Michael T. Marsden (Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1999).

Tom won numerous awards for his research, including the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts Award for Distinguished Scholarship (2006), the Society for the Study of Southern Literature Richard Beale Davis Award for Distinguished Lifetime Service to Southern Letters (2008), and the Popular Culture Association Lynn Bartholome Eminent Scholar Award (2018).

Tom is survived by his wife, Donária Romeiro Carvalho Inge.

Read more about Tom here. 

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