Rudy Nelson had a brief career in media while in college, as a writer-producer for WPTL, Rhode Island’s first FM radio station, and in films, following college, as Director for Script and Research at Good News Productions / Valley Forge Films in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania, a company that produced educational, religious, and promotional films.
Pursuing graduate studies in both English (MA, University of Rhode Island) and Religion (STB, Boston University School of Theology), he then spent the major part of his career in academia—first as chair of the English Department at Barrington College and, after earning a PhD in American Civilization at Brown University, as Associate Professor of English and Religious Studies, University at Albany, from which position he retired in 1994. He is the author of The Making and Unmaking of an Evangelical Mind: The Case of Edward Carnell (Cambridge University Press, 1987). He and his wife Shirley Nelson have collaborated on a number of projects, including a documentary film, Precarious Peace: God and Guatemala and most recently a novel, MK: The Risk of Returning, both based on the violence and struggle for peace in that country.
The Making and Unmaking of an Evangelical Mind: The Case of Edward Carnell, New York, Cambridge University Press, 1987.
“Getting It Right: On Research,” A Syllable of Water: Twenty Writers of Faith Reflect on Their Art, Emilie Griffin, ed., Brewster, MA, Paraclete Press, 2008, 48-60.
“Frank Sandford: Tongues of Fire in Shiloh, Maine,” Portraits of a Generation: Early Pentecostal Leaders, James Goff, Jr. and Grant Wacker, eds., Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2002, 51-69. With Shirley Nelson.
“Edge of the Transcendent: The Poetry of Levertov and Duncan,” Southwest Review, LIV,2 (Spring 1969), 188-202.
“Riprap on the Slick Rock of Metaphysics: Religious Dimensions in the Poetry of Gary Snyder,” Soundings, LVII, 2 (Summer 1974), 206-221
“The Doors of Perception”: Mystical Experience in Buechner’s Fiction,” Southwest Review, Vol. 68, No.3 (Summer 1983), 266-273.
“Making Peace,” backstory to the documentary film “Precarious Peace: God and Guatemala,” Image: Art, Faith, Mystery, #44 (Winter 2004), 97-109. With Shirley Nelson.
“The Blob and I,” Books and Culture, Vol. 14, No. 6 (November-December 2008), 32-35.