Kirschke, James J. 1941–

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Kirschke, James J. 1941–


Born August 10, 1941, in Norfolk, VA. Education: La Salle College, B.A., 1964; Temple University, M.A., 1970, Ph.D., 1977. Hobbies and other interests: Swimming, fitness workouts, conversation, music of the Baroque masters, Nat "King" Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sade.


Office—Department of English, SAC 402, Villanova University, Villanova, PA 19085. Agent—Harold Ober Associates, Inc., 425 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10017. E-mail—[email protected]


Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, member of editorial staff, 1970-78; Villanova University, Villanova, PA, faculty member, 1977—, currently professor of English. Vanderbilt University, visiting lecturer, 2003. U.S. Department of Education, vice president and committee chair for Jacob K. Javits Fellowship Board, 1985-87. Military service: U.S. Marine Corps, 1953-58; became captain. U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, beginning 1961.


Society for Eighteenth-Century American Studies (member of executive board, 1992-2000), Society of Early Americanists, American Studies Association (Early American Matters Caucus), Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, East Central Association for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association, Omicron Delta Kappa.


FBI-Marine Corps Association Award, 1984; Lance Corporal Thomas Agnew, Jr. Award, U.S. Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, 1999; Lieutenant Colonel Joseph McCaffrey Award, U.S. Marine Corps, 2001.


Henry James and Impressionism, Whitston (Troy, NY), 1981.

Willa Cather and Six Writers from the Great War, University Press of America (Lanham, MD), 1991.

Not Going Home Alone: A Marine's Story, Ballantine (New York, NY), 2001.

Gouverneur Morris: Author, Statesman, and Man of the World, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2005.

Began as associate editor, became review editor, Journal of Modern Literature, 1970-78.


James J. Kirschke once told CA: "In one way or another, all of my books have been motivated primarily by the wish to pay homage to work that has been well done and to the people who have done it. There are two major influences on my work; namely, the subject chosen for narration and the presumed audience, however broad.

"For books, I assemble a lot of notes, even before I begin any serious composition. I then survey the subject from an eagle's eye perspective. I organize my generally already voluminous notes by chapter. Once I begin writing, I move forward by using a steady series of brief outlines. These tend to run no more than a few days ahead of the actual drafting.

"I draft as much as I can at one time, generally about five hours per day, roughly five days a week. My best hours for composition seem to be roughly from mid-morning to mid-afternoon; however, university teaching often makes this schedule difficult. I try to keep going until I begin to lose a good head of steam. The next day I begin the process again. I look over the prospective composition for the next day and think about it carefully. Then I revise the draft from the previous workday. This method gives me a strong start into the next phase of the drafting.

"The most surprising thing I have learned as a writer is how much an author discovers about a subject when he or she works to master a topic clearly and thoroughly enough to publish a book, article, or personal essay about it. For me this process has proven a steadily gratifying educational experience.

"My first book, Henry James and Impressionism, started out as a doctoral dissertation, which I revised to become a book. My second book, Willa Cather and Six Writers from the Great War, is mainly a study of sources and analogues, developed from a surmise I had about Willa Cather's methods of fictional composition and an assumption, from reading her work, about her philosophies of life and of art. Not Going Home Alone: A Marine's Story was motivated primarily by my desire to bear witness to the numerous good deeds and heroic actions of the Marines and the Corpsmen with whom I served in Vietnam. Gouverneur Morris: Author, Statesman, and Man of the World attempts to reveal the man's complex character and major achievements while explaining a great deal about eighteenth-century history and life.

"The research I have done on each of these books fills dozens of voluminous files. I have been fortunate to work with intelligent and hard-working research assistants and others at Villanova, as well as keen and tactful book and journal editors. My published writings are far better than they would have been without such thoughtful and helpful guidance."