Dr. Karen Swallow Prior
Chair, Department of English and Modern Languages
Dr. Karen Swallow Prior is a native of Maine who moved to Virginia from Buffalo, New York, where she completed her undergraduate and graduate studies. She was raised in a strong Christian home and received Christ at a very early age. But it wasn’t until she was in her twenties that Dr. Prior was introduced to the concept of the Christian worldview. This was when her faith became real and she embraced the challenge of not only living biblically, but thinking biblically, too. Her life has never been the same. Dr. Prior incorporates this love of living and thinking biblically into her teaching and her study of literature and language, and it is what fuels her passion for both.
Dr. Prior was the 2003 recipient of the President’s Award for Teaching Excellence. In 2006 she received the Sigma Tau Delta (LU chapter) Teacher of the Year Award. She was named Faculty of the Year by the Multicultural Enrichment Center in 2010. She teaches British literature primarily, with a specialty in Eighteenth Century British literature which she loves for its emphasis on philosophy, ethics, aesthetics, and community, as well as for the correction it offers to the universal human impulse to gravitate toward extremes.
Dr. Prior and her husband Roy Prior live in Amherst where they spend their time renovating their 1912 farmhouse and spoiling their three boisterous and beautiful German Shorthaired Pointers.
Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo
M.A., State University of New York at Buffalo
B.A., Daemen College
The English Novel
Eighteenth Century English Literature
English Literature I
English Literature II
Literature and Composition
Grammar and Composition
“Hannah More, the Didactic Tradition, and the Rise of the English Novel.” 1650-1850: Ideas, Aesthetics, and Inquiries in the Early Modern Era 9 (2003) AMS.
Hannah More’s Coelebs in Search of a Wife: A Review of Criticism and a New Analysis. Lewiston, NY: Mellen, 2003.
“Hannah More: An Eighteenth Century Feminist for the Twenty-First Century.” Conference of the Southeastern American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies, University of Alabama, March 2, 2001.
Hannah More and the Evangelical Influence on the English Novel. Ph.D. Dissertation, SUNY at Buffalo, 1999.
Common Ground on Abortion Clinic Activism. Syracuse University, Program on the Analysis and Resolution of Conflicts, Occasional Papers Series, No. 1, November 1998.
Research and Analysis of Coelebs in Search of a Wife Seminar, Center for Teaching Excellence, Liberty University, May 2003.
“Hannah More” Lecture. American Association of University Women (Lynchburg, Va. Chapter) April 17, 2002.
“Truth in the Postmodern World” Commencement Address, Charles Grandison Finney High School, Buffalo, NY June 22, 2002.
“Absolutes in Beauty and Love” Interview, Soul Café, Lynchburg, VA, February 13, 2002.
“Teaching Truth through Fiction.” Faculty Chapel, Liberty University, February 2001.
“The Problem of Plagiarism.” Faculty Workshop, Liberty University, August 7, 2001.
“A Perspective on Truth.” www.osbd.org 2002.
“Abortion and the Theater of the Absurd.” www.osbd.org 2001.
“The Parable of the Mantle Maker.” www.osbd.org 2001.
“Right Behind Grisham.” World, July 1, 2000.
“Are Additional Laws Needed to Restrain Anti-Abortion Activists? Conflicting Views.” Insight on the News. February 15, 1999.
“Education.” Christian Observer 177.9 (September 1999): 11-12.
“Works in Progress: The Stories of Four Former Teenage Mothers.” Culture Wars 2.2 (September 1996): 7-9.
Various newspaper commentaries
Member of Rivermont Avenue Baptist Church and reader for its Celtic Christian worship service
Member of Board of Directors of Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center