Thomas C. Foster has served at the University of Michigan, Flint for 28 years, teaching courses on literature and writing as a Professor of English. Foster is also Director of the Master of English Language and Literature program at the University.
Growing up in West Cornfield, Michigan, Foster found his closest companions were books rather than classmates, sparking a love for literature that has lasted to this day. His earliest interests included works by Robert Louis Stevenson and Mark Twain, and his present academic writing concentrates on twentieth-century British, American, and Irish figures and movements. Foster attended Dartmouth College where he concentrated on English, graduating with High Distinction in the major in 1974. He pursued English further at Michigan State University, progressing from eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literary works to twentieth-century writing. He obtained his master's and doctorate in the subject in 1977 and 1981, respectively.
Although Foster's current research focuses on figures such as James Joyce, William Faulkner, Seamus Heaney, John Fowles, Derek Mahon, Eavan Boland, and the modernist and postmodernist movements, he reads and teaches on several other literary branches. These include writers such as Shakespeare, Dickens, Hardy, Twain, Homer, Poe, Ibsen, and Sophocles.
In addition to How to Read Novels Like a Professor (Summer 2008) and How to Read Literature Like a Professor (2003), published through HarperCollins, Foster is the author of Form and Society in Modern Literature (Northern Illinois University Press, 1988), Seamus Heaney (Twayne, 1989), and Understanding John Fowles (University of South Carolina Press, 1994). His novel, The Professor's Daughter, is in progress.
Foster has noted that he has learned more about literature through his students than through all the classes he has taken on the subject during his educational career.