Gruesser, John Cullen 1959-
GRUESSER, John Cullen 1959-
PERSONAL: Born September 18, 1959, in Milwaukee, WI; son of John A. Gruesser and Eileen C. Gruesser; married Susan A., August 8, 1987; children: John R. (Jack). Education: University of Notre Dame, B.A. (magna cum laude), 1981; Seton Hall University, M.A., 1983; University of Wisconsin—Madison, Ph. D., 1989.
ADDRESSES: Home—234 Audrey St., South Orange, NJ 07079. Offıce—Department of English, Kean College of New Jersey, Union, NJ 07083.
CAREER: Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ, lecturer in English, 1982-84; Purdue University, Calumet, IN, visiting assistant professor of English, 1989-90; Kean College of New Jersey, Union, assistant professor of English, beginning 1990, currently associate professor of English.
MEMBER: Phi Beta Kappa.
AWARDS, HONORS: National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship, 1992-93.
White on Black: Contemporary Literature about Africa, University of Illinois Press (Urbana, IL), 1992.
(Editor and contributor) The Unruly Voice: Rediscovering Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins, University of Illinois Press (Urbana, IL), 1996.
Black on Black: Twentieth Century African American Writing about Africa, University Press of Kentucky (Lexington, KY), 2000.
(Editor) The Black Sleuth, by John Edward Bruce, Northeastern University Press (Boston, MA), 2002.
Work represented in anthologies, including Modes of the Fantastic, edited by Rob Latham and Robert A. Collins, Greenwood Press, 1994. Contributor of articles and reviews to literary journals.
SIDELIGHTS: As both editor and author, John Cullen Gruesser has contributed a great deal to the history of African-American writing in the United States. With The Unruly Voice: Rediscovering Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins, Gruesser, as editor and contributor, sheds new light on the literary and journalistic career of Pauline Hopkins, a turn-of-the-century African-American writer and editor of Colored American Magazine. The volume "offers fresh perspectives that conceptualize Hopkins's works within a political, historical, and social framework," wrote Cassandra Jackson in African American Review.
In Black on Black: Twentieth Century African American Writing about Africa, Gruesser considers the African-American response to Africa through a variety of literary works and genres. He posits the theory that over the century there was a progression in African-American writing from embracing the concept of Ethiopianism, to moving away from that tenet by the end of the century. Ethiopianism is defined as a biblically inspired belief that Africa was once and will again be a great culture with glorious heritage, and that black Americans will play a major role in Africa's regeneration. "Thought-provoking" and "a useful starting point for debate," commented reviewer Tony Martin of African American Review, although he questioned whether Gruesser can prove his thesis without "a much more exhaustive study of African American writing than he has attempted here."
The Black Sleuth is Gruesser's version of Edward Bruce's serialized black mystery writings from 1907-1909. Black Issues Book Review writer Tony Linday described it as "a worthy and important read," and a Kirkus Reviews critic called it "a fragment of historical importance [which] pits a gifted young African detective against a covey of veteran jewel thieves." A Publishers Weekly reviewer called it "a natural for Black Studies courses on campus."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
African American Review, fall, 1999, Cassandra Jackson, review of The Unruly Voice: Rediscovering Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins, p. 537; spring, 2002, Tony Martin, review of Black on Black: Twentieth Century African American Writing about Africa, p. 147.
Black Issues Book Review, July-August, 2002, Tony Linday, review of The Black Sleuth, p. 30.
Booklist, July, 2000, Vernon Ford, review of Black on Black, p. 1993.
Choice, November, 2000, B. E. McCarthy, review of Black on Black, p. 533.
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2002, review of The Black Sleuth, p. 679.
Publishers Weekly, May 6, 2002, review of The Black Sleuth, p. 38.
University of Illinois Press Web site,http://www.uillinois.edu/ (August 11, 2002), review of The Unruly Voice.
University of Kentucky Press Web site,http://www.uky.edu/ (August 11, 2002), review of Black on Black.*