Don Bialostosky

  • Professor Emeritus

Don Bialostosky is a Professor Emeritus in English. He received his PhD in English in 1977 from the University of Chicago.

Don is the author of a long list of chapters and articles on the Romantics, with particular attention to Wordsworth and Coleridge, and on pedagogy, rhetoric, and dialogics.

He is the author of two books, Making Tales: The Poetics of Wordsworth's Narrative Experiments (U of Chicago P, 1984) and Wordsworth, Dialogics, and the Practice of Criticism (Cambridge UP 1992). He was co-editor of the collection, Rhetorical Traditions and British Romantic Literature (Indiana UP, 1995). He was a leading figure in thinking through the uses and consequences of the work of Mikhail Bakhtin, especially with reference to pedagogy, composition, and rhetoric. In recent years he completed an introduction to poetry entitled “How to Play a Poem” and a collection of essays on Bakhtin and rhetoric.

Professional Service

He served on the MLA Delegate Assembly, the Board of Directors of the Society for Critical Exchange, the Executive Committees of the Conference on College Composition and Communication and of the Association of Departments of English; he served as President of ADE in 2001. He was head of Penn State's English department from 1996 through 2001. He has also taught at the University of Utah, the University of Washington, SUNY Stony Brook, and the University of Toledo, where he was a Distinguished University Professor of English.


Don regularly taught undergraduates in Seminar in Composition, Introduction to Critical Reading, History of Criticism and senior seminars on Wordsworth. In addition to teaching Pitt’s required graduate courses History of Criticism and Seminar in Pedagogy, he also taught seminars entitled, Poetry as Utterance: Theory and Pedagogy, Research in Bakhtin School Rhetoric and Poetics, History of Rhetoric: Tropes and Figures, History of Rhetoric: Romantic Writers and Classical Rhetoric, and Rhetorical Criticism of Literature. He won the GSO "Outstanding Graduate Teacher" award at Penn State in 1994.

Read Notes of Gratitude to Don

Read Don's Retirement Tribute