Doerksen, Daniel W. 1931-
Doerksen, Daniel W. 1931-
Born November 27, 1931, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; son of Johann (a watchmaker) and Justina (a homemaker) Doerksen; married Nan Enns (a writer), June 27, 1959; children: Daniel James, Alan Victor William, Robert John. Ethnicity: "Mennonite/Dutch." Education: United College, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, B.A., 1957; University of Manitoba, B.Ed., 1962; University of Wisconsin—Madison, M.A., 1966, Ph.D., 1973. Religion: Mennonite Brethren. Hobbies and other interests: Photography, travel, choir singing.
High school teacher in Winkler, Dauphin, and East St. Paul, Manitoba, Canada, 1957-59, and greater Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1959-65; University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, began as assistant professor, 1968, became professor, 1968-97; Lithuania Christian College, Klaipeda, volunteer professor, 1998-99; University of New Brunswick, honorary research professor, 1998—.
Canadian Society for Renaissance Studies, Modern Language Association of America, Milton Society of America, John Donne Society.
Woodrow Wilson fellow, 1965, special Wilson fellow, 1966; grants from Canada Council, 1975, 1976, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 1982-84.
Conforming to the Word: Herbert, Donne, and the English Church before Laud, Bucknell University Press (Lewisburg, PA), 1997.
Contributor to books, including Poets and Critics: Essays from Canadian Literature, 1966-1974, edited by George Woodcock, Oxford University Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1974; John Donne's Religious Imagination: Essays in Honor of John T. Shawcross, edited by Raymond-Jean Frontain and Frances Malpezzi, University of Central Arkansas Press (Conway, AR), 1995; and John Donne and the Protestant Reformation, edited by Mary Papazian, Wayne State University Press (Detroit, MI), 2003. Contributor to periodicals, including Christianity and Literature, Milton Quarterly, Early Modern Literary Studies, Philological Quarterly, Seventeenth-Century News, George Herbert Journal, Literature & History, and Canadian Literature. Associate editor, English Studies in Canada, 1977-85; book review editor, Renaissance and Reformation/Renaissance et Réforme, 1991-97. Donne Variorum (international project), contributing editor, 1982-95.
Daniel W. Doerksen told CA: "George Herbert said, ‘If (you are) studious, copie fair, what time hath blurr'd; / Redeem truth from his jawes….’ One main purpose of my writings has been this—to do historical scholarship and restore a more correct understanding of some works of English literature written in the later sixteenth and earlier seventeenth centuries. In studying the religious background of Herbert himself and of Spenser and Donne I discovered that there were significant differences between the English church of that time and the picture given of it by many readers and interpreters. Time had consequently blurred their literary works. My research in England included discovering the London church the Herbert family attended (St. Martin-in-the-Fields), reflecting the true nature of that middle-of-the-road Church of England in which flourished a biblical-centered vitality. Though Herbert and his friend John Donne were never puritans, their church included moderate puritans with whom they shared significant concerns.
"I have written out of a love of language and literature, a growing interest in history, a deep respect and love for the Bible, and an interest in objectivity, combined with a recognition that we all have biases. I have been influenced among others by C.S. Lewis, who demonstrated that one can combine excellent literary scholarship and lively writing with Christian commitment. John R. Roberts, a Roman Catholic, was my best and most demanding professor in graduate school, and Jerald Brauer, then dean of the University of Chicago Divinity School, got me seriously interested in puritans. A course with Henry Rago, then editor of the Chicago periodical Poetry, led to my first publication, on Canadian poet Margaret Avison. A Woodrow Wilson fellowship enabled me to undertake graduate study when I already had a family that included three children. Research grants made possible sabbaticals in England, where in 1990 historians Nicholas Tyacke and Conrad Russell welcomed me at the Institute of Historical Research, London. My greatest debt is to Nan Doerksen (an author in her own right), a remarkable woman whose life I am privileged to share. Her thoughtful comments and whole-hearted support have been indispensable.
"My youthful upbringing in a Mennonite Brethren family and church got me off to a serious start in the Christian faith, and I have been inspired by the many people from this background who have sought and found excellence in various fields. Anabaptists can look back to a wonderful tradition of those willing to suffer for the biblical truth as they saw it, and their modern Mennonite successors have found new ways to live out such truths, ways including the literary arts, as Canadian novelist Rudy Wiebe and many others have shown."