Literary scholar; university professor, editor. Born– April 23, 1943, in Winston-Salem, N.C. Parents– Fred Colby and Miriam (Tuttle) Hobson. Married–Linda V. Whitney, June 17, 1967.  Children–one. Education– University of North Carolina, B.A., 1965; Duke University, M.A., 1967; UNC, Ph.D., 1972.  Editor / editorial writer for Associated Press, Charlotte; Winston-Salem Journal and Sentinel, 1966-1970. Taught at Virginia Western College, 1971-1972; University of Alabama, 1972-1986; LSU, 1986-89; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1989-.  Named Lineberger Distinguished Professor of the Humanities, 1989.  Author of many articles in journals and anthologies; member of several editorial boards. Member Modern Language Association; Society for the Study of Southern Literature; Southern Texts Society; Mencken Society; St. George Tucker Society.  Shared the Pulitzer Prize for Journalism as editorial writer for Winston-Salem Journal and Sentinel, 1970; received the Alabama Library Association’s Nonfiction Award, 1984.  Shared the Pulitzer Prize with the staff of the Winston-Salem Journal and Sentinel, 1971; Lillian Smith Award for Nonfiction, 1983; Jules F. Landry Award, 1983; Alabama Library Association Award for Nonfiction Writing, 1986; Pulitzer Prizer Nomination for Biography, 1994.  Awarded emeritus status on his retirement at UNC.


Contemporary Authors online.  UNC website.


But Now I See:  The White Southern Racial Narrative.  LSU Press, 1999.

Mencken: A Life.  Random House, 1994.

Off the Rim:  Basketball and other Religions in a Carolina Childhood.  Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2006.

Serpent in Eden; H. L. Mencken and the South. Chapel Hill, N.C.; University of North Carolina Press, 1974.

Silencing of Emily Mullen and Other Essays.  LSU Press, 2005.

South to the Future: An American Region in the Twenty-first Century. Athens:  University of Georgia Press, 2002.

Southern Mythmaking; the Savage and the Ideal. Troy, Ala.; Troy State University Press, 1978.

Southern Writer in the Postmodern World. Athens, Ga.; University of Georgia Press, 1991,

Tell About the South; the Southern Rage to Explain. Baton Rouge, La.; Louisiana State University Press, 1983.


South-watching; Selected Essays, by Gerald White Johnson. Chapel Hill, N.C.; University of North Carolina Press, 1983.

Southern Enigma:  Essays on the U.S. South.  Valencia, Spain:  Press of the University of Valencia, 2008.


Literature at the Barricades; the American Writer in the 1930s. Tuscaloosa, Ala.; University of Alabama Press, 1978.

Literature of the American South: A Norton Anthology.  Norton, 1997.

Oxford Handbook of the Literature of the American South.  New York:  Oxford University Press, 2016.

Thirty-Five Years of Newspaper Work, A Memoir by H. L. Mencken.  Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994.