T. S. McMillin

  • Professor of English



  • BA, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1983
  • MA, Syracuse University, 1989
  • PhD, Syracuse University, 1992


T. S. McMillin is the author of The Meaning of Rivers: Flow & Reflection in American Literature (American Land & Life Series, University of Iowa Press, 2011) and Our Preposterous Use of Literature: Emerson & the Nature of Reading (University of Illinois Press, 2000). He has written numerous articles on the American Transcendentalists, including ‘‘Beauty Meets Beast: Emerson’s English Traits,’’ and an essay in the collection Emerson for the Twenty-First Century: Global Perspectives on an American Icon (University of Delaware Press, 2010). His most recent project is centered on the Los Angeles River.

Along with teaching courses in American literature and environmental studies, he has survived a stint as department chair, performed with the Josh Ritter Band (once), and officiated weddings (twice). He was named the Only Flower of Meditation in the Wilderness by a fortune cookie from a local restaurant and has become the keeper of an unpredictably updated blog.

Spring 2022

In Search of America: The Concept of Nature in Early American Literature — ENGL 255
Nature and Transcendentalism — ENGL 366

Fall 2022

Meaning and Being — ENGL 223
Advanced Research in the Humanities — ENGL 398


Essay by T.S McMillin Published in the Review of International American Studies

October 18, 2021

An essay by Professor of English T.S McMillin, was recently published in the Review of International American Studies. His contribution, "Strangers Still More Strange": The Meaning of Rivers Bedeviled, is part of a special issue on Rivers of the Americas. A meditation on steamboats, rivers, and Herman Melville's The Confidence-Man, McMillin's article proposes that literature, and especially fiction, can play an important role in sorting out truth, even in a supposedly post-truth world.

T.S. McMillin Publishes Essay

September 18, 2018

Professor of English T. S. McMillin’s essay, “Between the Disciplines and Beyond the Institution: Emerson’s Environmental Relevance” just appeared in the book Approaches to Teaching the Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson (eds. Mark C. Long and Sean Ross Meehan), published by The Modern Language Association of America. In their introduction, the editors write, “T. S. McMillin extends the lessons of ‘creative reading’ to the sciences, uncovering in Emerson’s writings on nature a perspective of ‘transdisciplinarity’ that highlights Emerson’s relevance for both English and environmental studies students and also makes Emerson a valuable field guide for instructors working in the environmental humanities.”

T.S. McMillin Publishes Essay

January 26, 2018

T.S. McMillin, professor of English, published an essay based on his ongoing research of the Los Angeles River. “The End of the L.A. River: A Paradox,” appeared in the volume Rivers and Society: Landscapes, Governance, and Livelihoods, edited by Malcolm Cooper, Abhik Chakraborty, and Shamik Chakraborty. The book is part of Routledge’s series on Earthscan Studies in Water Resource Management.