Dr. Jones studies 20th- and 21st-century U.S. literature, the influence of the Bible in modern and contemporary literature, and representations of sexuality in literature. His latest publication, The King James Bible after 400 Years: Literary, Linguistic, and Cultural Influences, explores the King James Bible and its influence. He is now working on a research project involving the study of William Faulkner and how the Bible influenced this 20th-century writer. Dr. Jones has advised students in independent studies which focused on 20th-century U.S. literature and explored the works of renowned authors, such as Faulkner, Fitzgerald, and Hemingway. Dr. Jones also welcomes students who wish to undertake research projects pertaining to sexuality studies, film, and the history and development of religion.
Once upon a time, in a land not so far from our own, there lived a little boy who loved stories.
Today, Dr. Norman Jones teaches English at Ohio State Mansfield. He admits, “It’s a funny-strange thing to now be in a position where often students expect me to have all of the answers, when, the questions, really, are what brought me here.” For Dr. Jones, these questions help unravel the deeper meaning of literature.
Some of the interests that he explores now are the gray areas where religious studies, sexuality and gender studies, and modern (20th-21st century) literature intersect. This may seem like an unlikely combination, but Dr. Jones explains, “If you’re talking about the history of sexuality in western culture, you have to talk about religion! Because it so shapes what people thought about sex and sexuality – especially what’s okay and what’s not.”
It’s these types of unlikely patterns that drive the literary research world—to connect the historical context to a work of literature, which, in Dr. Jones’ case, finds influences of the Bible in modern historical fiction. He currently has two essays awaiting publication concerning gay and lesbian historical fiction; and is in the process of writing a novel about Thomas Gray, a collection about the Bible and literature, and another book addressing the Bible and William Faulkner.
Though it may seem that Dr. Jones has an extensive workload, fear not! He always has time to work with students interested in conducting research. Absolutely no prerequisites are needed to pursue an independent study with Dr. Jones. Students should feel encouraged to contact him via email or stop by his office at Ovalwood 229.