Robin Inboden, Professor of English
If literature were a light, Robin Inboden would illuminate. Since joining the faculty at Wittenberg in 1989, Inboden, professor of English and department chair, has inspired countless students with her passion for reading and writing.
“My light is a love of words and their euphonious combination,” she said, adding that she also loves “ good writing – graceful, clear, meaningful, beautiful writing – especially poetry and novels.”
Looking back at her life, Inboden recalls her early love of books. She asked for a library card for her fifth birthday, and was disappointed in her first day of school when they didn’t even teach her to read. But once she did learn, she was reading everything from biographies to mysteries to histories and art books. By high school, courtesy of Keats and Hardy, Inboden had zeroed in on 19th-century British literature, and today calls herself a “Victorian literature devotée.” She discovered a fondness for the classic films of the 1930s and ‘40s at the same time, and spent many pre-VCR nights seeking rarities on the late show.
Both passions led her to pursue an A.B. degree at Kenyon College followed by her master’s and doctorate at Cornell University. Today she teaches a range of courses in 19th-century British literature as well as Hollywood classical cinema. In addition, Inboden has presented professionally on a diverse array of topics including Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Tennyson, Wordsworth, Hitchcock, George Eliot and screwball comedy.
Yet, teaching students to appreciate the power of literature and its role in their lives and the world around them remains first and foremost her favorite endeavor. “I like to situate works we’re studying in their cultural context so that students can really immerse themselves in Victorian England or Depression-era Hollywood. Art, history, society – it all illuminates literature and deepens the experience.”