University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Department of English


Faculty - Arthur W. Biddle

Arthur William Biddle

Arthur W. Biddle, Professor Emeritus

  • Ph.D, Michigan State University, 1970
  • C.V. (PDF)
On-line courses taught recently:

Summer session: Native American Literature, Caribbean Literature. Winter session: Caribbean Lit Short and Sweet, Fiction Fast and Furious

Contact Information
Phone: (561) 894-8109


After teaching in UVM’s English department for 28 years, Biddle took early retirement to travel and teach around the world. As a representative of UVM’s Asian Studies Outreach Program, he made four trips to China, teaching in more than a half dozen universities and high schools throughout the nation. During two visits to South Africa he served as guest lecturer at the University of Fort Hare in the Eastern Cape region where he was lucky enough to meet Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

But back near the beginning of his tenure at UVM, his 1973 book, The Literature of Vermont: A Sampler (with Paul A. Eschholz) was the first of a dozen collaboratively written and edited anthologies and textbooks that he oversaw during his UVM career. Several high schools developed courses in Vermont literature with this as the core text. It was also the first book from UVM to be published by the University Press of New England.

In the early nineteen-nineties, he was appointed Senior Fulbright Fellow in Bhubaneswar and Patna, India. His experiences teaching American literature to Indian post-graduate students made him realize how little he (and presumably his Vermont students) knew about the literature of India and the rest of the world. Shortly after he returned to the United States he began work on a project to remedy that limitation. He recruited experts in the literatures of the six regions the book would cover: the Caribbean, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and East Asia. They chose representative works from their regions and wrote introductory essays. The product of this collaboration was the anthology Global Voices: Contemporary Literature from the Non-Western World (1995).

Biddle’s thirteenth book, When Prophecy Still Had a Voice: The Letters of Thomas Merton and Robert Lax (2001) chronicles the abiding friendship of these two solitary dreamers and poets. The ten-year process of research called for several lengthy retreats at Merton’s monastery, the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky plus three trips to the Greek island of Patmos to interview Robert Lax, who had lived there for several decades. In 2001 the book won the International Thomas Merton Society award “for a work which has brought provocative insight and fresh direction to Merton studies.”

Finally saying “NO MORE” to Vermont’s dark and cold winters, he moved to Boynton Beach, Florida, where he has taken up watercolor painting, tennis, and some mildly strenuous water aerobics. And thanks to the powers of the internet, he continues to teach online courses for UVM in each winter and summer session.