Whether he’s writing about the Union’s siege of Charleston in the Civil War, the crushing of political dissent in the South, or the scandalous trial, The United States v. One Book Called Ulysses, Joseph Kelly looks for the human story, fully painting the characters who make history happen. Always, he aims to write about complex ideas and history in lively, readable prose. His interests range from modern Irish literature to Southern history, and currently he is writing about American tales of shipwreck and maroonage–beginning with the lost colony of Roanoke to PT-109 to Lost and the Survivor franchise. His research has been supported by NEH and Mellon fellowships.
In addition to several critical and biographical articles on James Joyce, Kelly’s first book, Our Joyce: From Outcast to Icon, uses extensive archival research to uncover the manipulations of this monumental figure of modern literature by liberals and conservatives in the American culture wars. His popular introductory books on short stories, poems, essays, and plays, W. W. Norton & Company’s Seagull Readers, have sold well over 100,000 copies and are entering their 3rd edition. His latest offering from Overlook Press, America’s Longest Siege: Charleston, Slavery, and the Slow March toward Civil War, “brings a literary sensibility to the craft of history writing,” according to the eminent Lincoln scholar, Orville Vernon Burton.
Kelly earned his Ph. D. in literature with a minor in history from the University of Texas at Austin in 1992. Since then, he has been teaching a variety of courses at the College of Charleston, most recently Irish nationalism and culture, urban geography, and composition. He is the Co-Director of the College of Charleston’s Commission on Diversity, a Faculty Administrative Fellow in the President’s office, and a recent recipient of the Charleston’s Distinguished Service Award and Leo I. Higden Outstanding Leadership Award.View all authors