About Edwin Duncan

Professor Emeritus Edwin Duncan, Chair of the English Department from 2004-2010, taught at Towson University from 1993 to 2010 (except for the 1996-97 school year when he was a Visiting Professor at the University of Akron). His specializations are Medieval Literature and English Language & Linguistics, and he is the 2002 recipient of the USM (University System of Maryland) Regents' Award for Teaching Excellence. He has published articles in the top scholarly journals in his field (JEGP, Studies in Philology, etc.) and read papers at the top conferences (Modern Language Association, Linguistic Society of America, etc.).

He is past President of the Texas Medieval Association and currently a member of its Board of Directors. He is also a former President of the Southeast Texas Council of Teachers of English. He regularly participated in academic conferences, most notably the International Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo and the Texas Medieval Conference, which he still attends. In 1995 he was the keynote speaker for the Annual Meeting of the College English Association-Middle Atlantic Group and in 2009 plenary speaker at the Annual Meeting of the Texas Medieval Association. He has appeared on WJZ-TV (Baltimore) and KFDM-TV (Beaumont, Tx) as a linguistics expert and has testified as one in court. He has also been interviewed by BBC International Radio (4:24) as an English language historian.

He is the Webmaster for the Texas Medieval Association and former Co-Director of the Chaucer MetaPage. He maintained web sites for all the courses he taught, and in 1998 his English 425-Chaucer pages received an award from Links2Go (logo below) for being the best Chaucer site on the Internet.


A native Texan, he grew up as one of three sons of a cotton farmer and took his degrees at Texas Tech (B.A.) and the University of Texas (M.A., Ph.D.). He also spent five years travelling overseas (on two different trips). During that time he visited thirty countries, most of them in Europe and Asia. He spent time in such places as Afghanistan, Nepal, Laos, and the Seychelles Islands and worked at various jobs--as a waiter in Oslo, as a farm hand in Denmark, as a stunt man and extra for Hindi movies in Bombay, as Circulation Director for the Premier TV Guide of Thailand, and for a year as an English teacher for Buddhist monks at the Wat Hong monastery in Bangkok.

After returning from the second trip overseas, he worked as a construction carpenter for five years in Austin, Texas, before entering graduate school at the University of Texas, where he was both a student and an undergraduate instructor. Besides Towson, he also taught on both graduate and undergraduate levels at Humboldt State University in northern California, at Lamar University in southeast Texas, and at the University of Akron in Ohio.

He was Chair of the English Department at Towson for several years and on a number of departmental, college, and university committees. He was also an active member of the AAUP (American Association of University Professors) and an editor of the Towson chapter's newsletter.

His web edition of the General Prologue to Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is used at several universities in the United States and elsewhere (Click here for a short video introduction [1:48]). He has also added some narrated slidecasts to his History of the English Language course website, which are used by several university instructors.

He retired in August 2010 and returned to Roscoe, the small town in Texas where he was born and grew up. He currently writes a weekly news blog, The Roscoe Hard Times, and serves as curator and webmaster of the Roscoe Historical Museum.

Divorced, he has three daughters: Vanya, 35, who has a baby daughter, Olive Roisin, born August 5, 2009; Mary Grace, 27, who has a Juris Doctor's degree from Vanderbilt and is working in Indiana; and Laurie, 25, a computer engineer for Accenture in San Francisco. He favors the Texas Rangers to win the World Series and the Dallas Cowboys or Baltimore Ravens the Super Bowl.

Edwin Duncan's Home Page