H. Collin Messer

Assistant Dean of the Calderwood School of Arts and Letters; Professor of English
All FacultyEnglish

Contact Information
Phone: 724-458-2041
Email: hcmesser@gcc.edu

H. Collin Messer


  • Ph.D. English Literature, University of North Carolina 
  • M.A. English Literature, University of North Carolina 
  • B.A. English Literature, Emory University


  • Conference on Christianity and Literature

Areas of Expertise

  • American literature
  • Walker Percy


  • Survey of American Literature
  • Existentialism and Modern Fiction
  • Literature of the American South
  • African American Literature
  • 20th-Century American Novel

Selected Research
I am currently working on a book-length study of Walker Percy in which I trace Augustinian influences and echoes in Percy’s work with particular interest in the existentialism of both writers.

Selected Publications

  • “The Unquiet Heart: St. Augustine’s Influence on Walker Percy.” In The Moviegoer turns Fifty: A Collection of Essays. Louisiana State University Press, (2016).
  • “Fleeing the Wasteland of Alcoholism: Alienation, Recovery, and Hope in Raymond Carver’s Cathedral.” Studies in Short Fiction, 37.1 (Winter 2012).
  • “Exhausted Voices: The Inevitable Impoverishment of Faulkner’s ‘Garrulous and Facile’ Language.” Southern Literary Journal, 39.1 (Fall 2006).
  • “The Vigor at the Core: Thomas Wolfe’s Search for a Language of Immediacy.” The Thomas Wolfe Review, 23.2 (Fall 1999).
  • “Liturgical Practice and Poetic Dissent in Antebellum America.” Rev. essay of A Cheerful & Comfortable Faith: Anglican Religious Practice in the Elite Households of Eighteenth-Century Virginia. By Lauren Winner (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2010) and Emily Dickinson and Hymn Culture: Tradition and Experience by Victoria N. Morgan (Surrey, England: Ashgate, 2010). Religion and the Arts (Boston College) forthcoming.
  • “Walker Percy’s American Apocalypse.” Rev. essay of A Political Companion to Walker Percy. Eds. Peter Augustine Lawler and Brian A. Smith. (Lexington: UP of Kentucky, 2013). Library of Law and Liberty, http://www.libertylawsite.org/, July 2014.
  • Rev. of Global Faulkner: Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha, 2006. Eds. Annette Trefzer and Ann J. Abadie. (Jackson, MS: UP of Mississippi. 2009) and William Faulkner and the Southern Landscape. By Charles S. Aiken. (Athens, GA: U of Georgia P, 2009). American Literature, 82.2 (Summer 2010).
  • “The Education of Desire.” Rev. of Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation. By James K.A. Smith (Baker Academic, 2009). The QUAD (Grove City College critical/review magazine), Autumn 2009.

Professional Experience

  • Professor of English, Grove City College, 2006-present
  • Visiting Assistant Professor of English, Calvin College, 2004-2006
  • Assistant Professor of English, King College, 2000-2004


  • Avid fan of UNC basketball and the Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Carpentry
  • Gardening
  • Little League baseball

You might be surprised to know...
This summer I learned how to fry funnel cakes at the Grove City Strawberry Days Festival.