About Dr. Blanford Parker


Blanford Parker was born in 1955 and grew up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In his childhood, he and his brother lived in a house replete with collections (seashells, butterflies, birds’ eggs, minerals), maps, poetry, books on the Civil War and World War II. At an early age Blanford’s brother, Theodore, honed his remarkable skills as a naturalist. When he was only 18 he broke the one-year record for seeing species in North America and went on in those early years to make a major contribution to both ornithology and ecology. Although he died doing his research at the age of forty, he left behind 50 important articles and ten thousand bird song recordings.

Blanford’s own interests were at first American history and poetry. He graduated from Cornell college with honors in Greek and Latin. He spent six years playing in a band and writings poems and pop songs. That song and poetry collection will be published for the first time on this website.

He subsequently won the university fellowship, the highest prize for a graduate student, at the University of Iowa. He left Iowa City in 1985, and completed a M.A. and Ph.D. at Harvard University. There he received a distinguished teaching certificate and became a Lecturer in History and Literature.

In 1990, he joined the faculty of NYU and there received the Golden Dozen Award for excellence in teaching. He subsequently taught at the CUNY graduate center, Claremont graduate school, and Ave Maria University. His book, The Triumph of Augustan Poetics (1998), was widely reviewed and gave a new explanation of the transition from Renaissance to Enlightened literary attitudes. In his New York years, he gave several lecture series for the Narnia clubs, including Proofs for the Existence of God, Hopkins’ Poems, St. Augustine’s Confessions, and Religious Poetry in English. He also contributed over forty lectures and papers on Eighteenth-Century poetry, Modernist poetry, and Science and Literature. He has recently embarked on a project of videos, podcasts, and lectures so that he can more widely offer his views on poetry, popular music, film, and culture. He is also completing a chapter for the Oxford Handbook on Samuel Johnson (Johnson’s Religion).

History of lectures and talks

  • “Platonic Sources in ‘This Lime Tree Bower My Prison’”, “Fancy and Imagination in Dejection”, two lectures given as visiting lecturer in NEH Summer Seminar on S.T. Coleridge at the University of South Carolina, July, 1987.
  • “Sources of ‘Mr. Eliot’s Sunday Morning Service’”, The Sophy Kerr Lecture Series, Washington College, Maryland, November, 1987.
  • “Herodotus and Simonides: The Uses of Poetry in History”, Harvard History Round Table, February, 1988.
  • “The Genesis of Eliot’s Quatrain Poems”, T. S. Eliot Centenary Lectures, Harvard University, March 1988.
  • “The Augustan Critique of Analogy”, Meeting of the Midwest Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Notre Dame University, April, 1989.
  • “Aristotle’s Four Causes and Problems of Structuralist Criticism”, The Saint Socrates Society of Boston, April 1990.
  • “The Two Johnsons”, Meeting of the Northeast Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Clark University, October, 1990.
  • “Three Lectures on St. Augustine’s Confessions”, Narnia Club, New York, Fall 1992.
  • “The Birth of Eve”, New York Renaissance Seminar, April, 1992.
  • “Freud and Romantic Narrative”, Conference of Society for Science and Literature, Atlanta, October, 1992.
  • “Samuel Johnson’s Protestantism”, Columbia Seminar in the Eighteenth Century, October, 1992.
  • “Moses, Jesus and Mohammed: Enlightenment Portraits”, Temple University Humanities Program Lecture, Philadelphia, April, 1993.
  • “Hudibras as the Type of Modern Satire”, Conference of the Society of Science and Literature, Atlanta, October, 1993.
  • “Samuel Butler and the Bakhtinian Carnival”, Claremont Graduate School Lecture Series, January, 1994.
  • “What was Neo-Classicism in England?”, Meeting of the Southern Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Houston, February, 1994.
  • “Teleological Structures in the Poetry of Eliot”, American Literature Group NYU, New York, Febraury, 1995.
  • “Lecture on Ontological Proof for the Existence of God”, Narnia Club, Fall, 1996.
  • “Petrarchan Tableau: Milton’s Gender Allegory”, Meeting of the Milton Seminar, New York Public Library, April, 1997.
  • “Four Lectures of Catholic Poetry: Dies Irae, Southwell, Crashaw, and Hopkins”, Narnia Club, 1997.
  • “Enlightened Epicureanism in Britain: An Overview”, Meeting of American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Milwaukee, March, 1998.
  • “Milocz’ Religion” for Czeslaw Milocz: An International Celebration, Los Angeles, April, 1998. (This is mentioned in The Paris Review of the following year.)
  • “The Augustan critique of the beast fable and folktales”, in CUNY Conference on Revolutions, New York, May, 1999. (Summarized but not presented.)
  • “The Birth of Eve”, Milton Seminar, New York Public Library, April, 1999
  • “False Classicism”, In Round-table Discussion of Triumph of Augustan Poetics in Meeting of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Philadelphia, March, 2000.
  • “New and Old Johnson”, Meeting of the Southern Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Baton Rouge, April, 2000.
  • “Petrarch 50 and the Virgilian Rota”, Renaissance Society of America, New York, November, 2002.
  • “Where did Dryden Begin?”, Southern Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies, Atlanta, November, 2004.
  • “Pope and Descriptive Poetry”, American Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies, Toronto, April, 2006.
  • “Wordsworth and the Eighteenth-Century Inheritance”, Liberty Conference, chaired by Adam Potkey, Los Angeles, 2008. (Not presented on account of illness.)