Donald Kartiganer received his B.A. from Brown University, his M.A. from Columbia University, and his Ph.D. from Brown. He taught for 27 years at the University of Washington in Seattle. In 1991 he was appointed as the first Howry Professor of Faulkner Studies in the Department of English at the University of Mississippi, in Oxford. In 1994 he also became the Director of the annual Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference
He has written extensively on modern literature, with an emphasis on Faulkner, including The Fragile Thread: The Meaning of Form in Faulkner's Novels
and some forty essays and reviews, and has coedited seven volumes of criticism on Faulkner selected from the proceedings of the Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference.
He has held Fulbright lectureships at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia and Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, and was a visiting professor of American Literature at Tel-Aviv University in Israel. In 2002 he appeared (with Thadious Davis) in a two-hour television program, part of C-Span's American Writers
series, that took place at Rowan Oak, Faulkner's home in Oxford.