Jackson, (Marvin) Dennis 1945-
JACKSON, (Marvin) Dennis 1945-
Born 1945, in Jackson, MS; married Anna Jean Ferrell, August 26, 1997. Education: Belhaven College, B.A., 1967; University of Arkansas, M.A., 1970, Ph.D. (English), 1978.
Office—Department of English, Memorial Hall, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Allworth Press, 10 East 23rd Street, Suite 210, New York, NY 10010-4402. E-mail—[email protected]
Educator, author, and editor. University of Delaware, Newark, assistant professor, then associate professor of English and journalism, 1978-92, professor of English, 1992—, director of journalism program, 1995—. Seminar director, United States Information Agency's Bulgarian Mass Media Development Program, 1994; writing coach.
D. H. Lawrence Society of North America (secretary and treasurer, 1979-82, president, 1985-86), National Council of College Publication Advisors, Modern Language Association, Association of Education in Journalism.
Gannett teaching fellowship, 1981; Excellence in the Teaching of Writing and Editing Award, Modern Media Institute and American Society of Newspaper Editors, 1981; National Teaching Award, Poynter Institute for Media Studies, 1982; Harry T. Moore Distinguished Scholar Award, D. H. Lawrence Society of North America, 1999; senior fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities, 1999; Advisement Award, University of Delaware, 2000.
(Editor) Irish Renaissance Annual III, University of Delaware Press (Newark, DE), 1982.
(Associate editor, with James C. Cowan) D. H. Lawrence: An Annotated Bibliography of Writings about Him, two volumes, Northern Illinois University Press (DeKalb, IL), 1982.
(Editor, with Michael Squires) D. H. Lawrence's "Lady": A New Look at Lady Chatterley's Lover, University of Georgia Press (Athens, GA), 1985.
(Editor, with Fleda Brown Jackson) Critical Essays on D. H. Lawrence, G. K. Hall (Boston, MA), 1988.
(Editor, with Keith Cushman) D. H. Lawrence's Literary Inheritors, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1991.
(Editor, with John Sweeney) The Journalist's Craft: A Guide to Writing Better Stories, Allworth Press (New York, NY), 2002.
Contributor to periodicals such as D. H. Lawrence Review, Etc., British Book News, Black Scholar, Texas Studies in Literature and Language, and CEA Forum. Former editor, D. H. Lawrence Review, Irish Renaissance Annual, and Style (guest editor).
Dennis Jackson has published in a variety of genres, most notably on the literary works of D. H. Lawrence. In Critical Essays on D. H. Lawrence, he and coeditor Fleda Brown Jackson offer a collection of twenty-one essays on Lawrence's novels, short fiction, plays, poetry, and letters. Among the volume's contributors are Anaïs Nin, Joyce Carol Oates, and Mark Spilka. Michael Bell in the Modern Language Review noted that the collection fails to address other works by Lawrence, including travel writing, visual art, criticism, or essays on cultural topics. Ronald G. Walker in English Literature in Transition said that many of the essays are more dated and that only the three essays published specifically for this collection speak to contemporary issues.
The collection begins with an extensive introduction by the coeditors. They touch on the ups and downs of Lawrence's career, including a period of decline in the 1940s and a resurgence in the 1950s. The introduction also focuses on works of the 1960s and 1970s, a period Walker characterized as "a fruitful consolidation of critical attention." The coeditors list critical analyses of Lawrence published up to 1985, noting an increased interest in Lawrence's works that transcends his fiction and focuses on other genres of his writing. The editors also point to a revived interest in Lady Chatterley's Lover, and essays in the collection address that work. Walker particularly enjoyed an essay titled "Portrait of Miriam: A Study in the Design of Sons and Lovers," which offers an unusual and sympathetic interpretation of the character of Miriam Leivers. The critic also praised an older essay on Women in Love that concerns the division between the human ego and society. Such essays, said Walker, show that even earlier criticism of Lawrence is still on the mark. Walker called the collection "sensibly organized [and] well edited" and praised the inclusion of a good index.
Bell found that the mixture of old and new essays in the collection gave a "fundamental confusion or arbitrariness [to] the volume." He wrote that a serious follower of Lawrence would not glean many new ideas from the book. While he appreciated the essay on Sons and Lovers because it "avoids the common traps of uncritical admiration [and] unintelligent dismissal," Bell questioned why a later essay (published in 1970 and offering an opposing interpretation of Sons and Lovers) was not also included. Bell concluded that the work has a "lack of critical purpose" and suggested that it would not be useful for students. Conversely, Choice reviewer J. E. Steiner called the collection an "excellent volume" while pointing to the limited effectiveness of covering such a large number of genres. Steiner found the essays on Lawrence's fiction better than those on the plays. He said that the essay addressing Lawrence's method of developing and writing poetry was "extremely useful."
Jackson joined John Sweeney in editing The Journalist's Craft: A Guide to Writing Better Stories. This work departs from Jackson's literary criticism works in offering practical suggestions to budding journalists. The collection covers subjects like finding story ideas, perfecting narrative techniques and grammatical accuracy, and adding rhythm and cadence to sentences. Writing in Newspaper Research Journal, Andi Stein recommended the book for introductory newswriting or feature writing courses, calling it "fine supplemental reading" and "an excellent addition to the library of those who write news or feature stories for a living."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Choice, November, 1988, J. E. Steiner, review of Critical Essays on D. H. Lawrence, p. 486.
English Literature in Transition, March, 1991, Ronald G. Walker, "Essays on Lawrence," p. 377.
Modern Language Review, July, 1991, Michael Bell, review of Critical Essays, p. 686.
Newspaper Research Journal, spring, 2003, Andi Stein, review of The Journalist's Craft: A Guide to Writing Better Stories, p. 130.
Allworth Press Web site,http://www.allworth.com/ (August 12, 2004).
University of Delaware Web site,http://www.udel.edu/ (September 11, 2004), "Dennis Jackson."*