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Richard Matthew Doyle

Richard Matthew Doyle

Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of English

Affiliate Faculty, Information Science and Technology

Digital Director, (

8 Burrowes Building

Mailroom: 430 Burrowes Building

University Park , PA 16802
Office Phone: (814) 883-9597

Office Hours:

  • FALL 2017: Wednesdays, 1-2:30 pm and by appointment


  1. Ocean City High School, Ocean City, New Jersey 1978-1982
  2. Georgetown University, BA, English, Philosophy, 1986
  3. University of California, Berkeley, MA, Rhetoric, 1989
  4. University of California, Berkeley, PhD, Rhetoric, 1993
  5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Post Doctoral Fellowship, STS, History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences

Areas of Specialization

Medieval Literature
Renaissance Literature
American Literature Before 1900

I am an avid and close reader of Whitman, Emerson, Thoreau and their web of influences, especially Maurice Bucke and Whitman's "Disciples." I am also a keen observer of the arrival of Buddhist and Vedanta ideas and rhetorics into American letters in this period, e.g. Emerson's reading of the Bhagavad Gita and Thoreau's Sanskrit Library

American Literature After 1900

Burroughs! Philip K. Dick! These writers form a dyad with which one can inquire into the cultural conditions of the emergence of information technologies and their influences on planetary culture and their ecosystems, including consciousness. Burroughs' "Language is a virus from outer space" predates scientist Richard Dawkins' concept of the "meme", and brings the non conscious agenda of information technologies to the fore. Dick's first person encounter with being "nailed by information" in 1974 was the subject of his massive text, The Exegesis, which I helped compile into a redacted print volume with PSU undergraduates and Editors Pamela Jackson and Jonathan Lethem. I had the chutzpah to write (an admittedly shortened) Afterword. "Stairway to Eleusis", to the lengthy text that you can find online. The entire digital form of the Exegesis, with some lacunae, can be found at Check it out!

Contemporary Literature
Rhetoric and Composition
Theory and Cultural Studies
Visual Culture