43 Questions with Dr. Jim Evans

43 Questions with Dr. Jim Evans

Posted on August 17, 2022

Dr. Jim Evans is an emeritus faculty member of the English Department who specializes in 18th-Century British Literature. He has had various positions across the University, which includes serving as Head of the English Department for a period of time, and during his career has amassed over 40 years worked at UNCG. In 2014, he was awarded the Gladys Strawn Bullard Award for Service.

43 Questions with Dr. Jim Evans

  1. What is your favorite time of day?

 Morning, assuming I had a good night’s sleep.

  1. What was the best experience you had as a member of the English Department?

Being department head from 1990 to 1999, a time of transition and growth.

  1. What are you most excited about these days?

The pandemic waning.  I’m ready to travel and dine again.

  1. What makes you smile the most?

My big dog Pardner, a 9-year-old Bouvier.

  1. What is one thing people do not know about you?

I love the blues, the truest American music.

  1. What are the three things you cannot live without?

Family, friends, and red wine, best when enjoyed together.  (Jen Feather probably expected me to include the Atlanta Braves and whiskey, both high on my list.)

  1. Window or aisle seat?


  1. What is your current TV show obsession?

Better Call Saul.  Now just ended.

  1. What is the most adventurous thing you have done in your life?

Visiting Machu Picchu, the Incan ruins in Peru.

  1. How would you define yourself in three words?

Introverted, humorous, serious.

  1. What is the sound or noise that you love?

Music, best when melodic, from Baroque to Blues.

  1. What is the best piece of advice you have received?

Encouragement to publish by my graduate school mentor at Penn.

  1. What is your pet peeve?

Self-important people.  Worse than robocalls about Medicare plans.

  1. What 18th Century work should everyone read?

Tom Jones by Henry Fielding.

  1. Do you prefer 18th Century poetry or novels?

Novels, without question.  Defoe, Sterne, Burney, as well as Fielding.

  1. What book did you most recently finish?

Jack by Marilynn Robinson, the fourth of her Gilead novels.

  1. What is your favorite holiday?

Christmas, the only time when my children and grandchildren are all together with my wife and me.

  1. If you could switch lives with one person for a day, who would it be?

Attorney General Merrick Garland.

  1. What is one book you will admit you have never read but probably should?

The Divine Comedy.

  1. What is the one thing you wish you knew at age 19?

It’s best not to know some things when you’re too young.

  1. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

A villa in Tuscany.

  1. What is the best book you have ever read?

An impossible choice.  The best one I read recently, decades after its publication, is Song of Solomon.

  1. What is a fictional city you would love to travel to?

Nineteenth-century Paris, as represented by Zola, James, and others.

  1. What is your favorite type of food?

Almost any food prepared by my older son, a chef in Charlotte.

  1. Favorite snack?


  1. What is the one talent you wish you had?

The ability to play a guitar.

  1. What is your favorite movie?

The Godfather

  1. Would you rather be in a novel by Jane Austen or Jonathan Swift?

Austen.  Snobs and boors would be easier to deal with than giants who might eat me.

  1. What is your favorite word?

Caritas.  Look it up in your Latin dictionary.

  1. What is your least favorite word?

Any word used as an excuse for bad behavior

  1. Are you a proponent of the Oxford Comma?


  1. What course was your favorite to teach?

Comic Heroines from Shakespeare to Austen, a topics course for undergraduates first offered in 2010. 

  1. What is your favorite color?

Carolina blue—go Tar Heels!

  1. What are three words to describe the English department?

Back in my day: collegiality, learning, teaching.

  1. What is one thing you had to learn the hard way?


  1. What is a trend you would like to see disappear forever?

Social media.  A futile gesture, I know.

  1. What did you want to do with your life at age 12?

Play first base for a major league baseball team.

  1. What do you consider your greatest career achievement?

Being part of the Fielding tercentenary conference at the University of London in 2007 (and subsequent publication in the conference volume). 

  1. What do you love the most about the English Department?

In my day: the people I worked with, both colleagues and students

  1. What project are you working on right now?

Nonfiction about growing up in the racist deep South.

  1. Cats or dogs?

Dogs, see 4.

  1. What are your future plans?

In the short term, taking my first trip to Spain this Fall.

  1. What advice do you have for students?

Take pleasure in the literature you read.