Dr. Steven Olsen-Smith received his Ph.D. in English from the University of Delaware in 1999 and joined the faculty of the Department of English at Boise State University in 2000. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in American literature and methods of literary research. Dr. Olsen-Smith's research centers on American authors Herman Melville and Walt Whitman. He is a nationally recognized expert on Melville’s life and writings, and the primary scholar responsible for tracking the recovery of Melville’s dispersed personal library of approximately 1,000 books. He is also the editor of an interactive website devoted to the marginalia of the 19th century author, "Melville’s Marginalia Online".
Guest Editor, Special Issues on "Melville's Reading and Marginalia" and "Melville's Sources," Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies 10.3 (2008) and 6.1 (2004) (2008)
The Inscription of Walt Whitman's "Live Oak, with Moss" Sequence: A Restorative Edition, Scholarly Editing (2012)
Herman Melville’s Copy of Thomas Beale’s The Natural History of the Sperm Whale and the Composition of Moby-Dick, Harvard Library Bulletin (2010)
The Hymn in Moby-Dick: Melville's Adaptation of "Psalm 18", Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies (2003)
In "The Sermon," Chapter 9 of Moby-Dick, the hymn sung by the congregation of Whaleman’s...
"Live Oak, with Moss" and "Calamus": Textual Inhibitions in Whitman Criticism (with Hershel Parker), Walt Whitman Quarterly Review (1997)
Examines "inhibiting assumptions--textual and aesthetic, not sexual"--that the authors believe "have persisted, apparently not so...
Two Views of Whitman in 1856: Uncollected Reviews of Leaves of Grass from the New York Daily News and Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, Walt Whitman Quarterly Review (1996)
Presents two 1856 reviews of the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass not included in...
Live Oak, with Moss : A Restorative Edition, Faculty Authored Books (2012)
This is the first printing of a newly restored edition of Walt Whitman’s twelve-poem sequence...
Contributions to Books
‘Live Oak, with Moss,’ ‘Calamus,’ and ‘Children of Adam’, A Companion to Walt Whitman (2006)
Composed in overlapping phases, and textually and conceptually related, Walt Whitman's "Live Oak, with Moss",...
'Herman Melville (1819-1891)' and 'Walt Whitman (1819-1892)', Writers of the American Renaissance: An A-Z Guide (2003)
Melville’s Poetic Use of Thomas Beale’s 'Natural History of the Sperm Whale', Moby-Dick; Norton Critical Edition (2001)
Adapting Humanities Scholarship for Digital Environments and Methods (Invited Lecture), United States Air Force Academy (2012)
Round Table on Teaching Melville, American Literature Association (2009)
Moby-Dick: Genesis, Influence, and Intention (Panel Chair), American Literature Association (2008)
In the News
A Whale of a Job: Boise State Researchers Uncover New Knowledge About Literary Icon Herman Melville, Explore: The Research Magazine of Boise State University (2011)
Rarely does one get a glimpse into the formative thoughts and intellect of one of...