Gavin Jones is chair of the Department of English at Stanford University. He is the author of Strange Talk: The Politics of Dialect Literature in Gilded Age America (1999) and American Hungers: The Problem of Poverty in U.S. Literature, 1840-1945 (2007). He has published articles on George W. Cable, Theodore Dreiser, W.E.B. Du Bois, Sylvester Judd, Paule Marshall, Mark Twain, and Herman Melville, in journals such as American Literary History, New England Quarterly, and African American Review. He is currently completing a book about American literature's obsessive efforts to describe and theorize the experience of failure.