Lavery, David 1949-
LAVERY, David 1949-
PERSONAL: Born August 27, 1949, in Oil City, PA; son of Donald J. (a time clerk) and Martha S. (a homemaker) Lavery; married Joyce Kling (director of the Nashville chapter of the National Conference for Community and Justice), July, 1979; children: Rachel Alden, Sarah Caitlin. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: Clarion University, B.S., 1971; St. Cloud State University, M.A., 1973; University of Florida, Ph.D., 1978. Politics: Liberal Democrat. Religion: "Nonpracticing Catholic." Hobbies and other interests: Classical music, HTML design.
ADDRESSES: Home—2246 Wiltshire Dr., Murfreesboro, TN 37129. Office—Department of English, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN 37132; fax 615-898-5098. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Educator and author. College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph, MN, instructor in English, 1975-76; University of North Florida, Jacksonville, adjunct assistant professor of English, 1979-80; Seattle University, Seattle, WA, visiting assistant professor of English, 1980-81; East China Normal University, Shanghai, foreign expert in English, 1981; University of Alabama, Huntsville, interim assistant professor of English, 1981-83; Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, assistant professor, 1983-88, director of freshman English, 1986-88; University of Memphis, Memphis, TN, associate professor of communication and film studies, 1988-93; Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, professor of English, 1993—, department head, 1993-97; Literature/Film Quarterly, editor, 1993—.
MEMBER: South Atlantic Modern Language Association (secretary, 1986-87), Owen Barfield Society (an affiliate of the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association; founder, 2003), Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association, Wallace Stevens Society, Popular Culture Association in the South, Tennessee Philological Association, Phi Beta Kappa, Media Ecology Association.
AWARDS, HONORS: Teaching Assistant of the Year, University of Florida, 1978; Teacher of the Year, University of Alabama, Huntsville, 1983; Bronze Award for Independent Video, Worldfest, Houston, 1996, and honorable mention, Columbus International Film and Video Festival, 1996, both for Owen Barfield: Man and Meaning; four-time Pushcart Prize nominee; Kraszna-Krausz Book Award nominee for Full of Secrets: Critical Approaches to Twin Peaks.
Late for the Sky: The Mentality of the Space Age, Southern Illinois University Press (Carbondale, IL), 1992.
(Editor and contributor) Full of Secrets: Critical Approaches to "Twin Peaks," Wayne State University Press (Detroit, MI), 1994.
(Editor, with Angela Hague and Marla Cartwright, and contributor) Deny All Knowledge: Reading "The X-Files," Syracuse University Press (Syracuse, NY), 1996.
(Editor, with Rhonda V. Wilcox, and contributor) Fighting the Forces: What's at Stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Rowman & Littlefield (Lanham, MD), 2002.
(Editor, with Angela Hague) Teleparody: Predicting/Preventing the TV Discourse of Tomorrow, Wall-flower Press (London, England), 2002.
Re-Weaving the Rainbow: The Thought of Owen Barfield, Galda & Wilch Verlag (Cambridge, MA), 2003.
How to Gut a Book: Essay on Imagination and the Evolution of Consciousness (e-book), iUniverse.com, 2004.
The Encyclopedia of Native American Literature, edited by R. Velie and Jennifer McClinton-Temple, Facts on File (New York, NY), 2005.
Investigating Angel, edited by Stacey Abbott, I. B. Tauris (London, England), 2005.
Nineteenth-Century American Fiction on Screen: An Anthology of Critical Essays, edited by R. Barton Palmer, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 2005.
Also editor of Post Script: Essays in Film and the Humanities series (1987) and coeditor of Slayage: The Online International Journal of Buffy Studies. Also coauthor and coproducer of the film Owen Barfield: Man and Meaning, 1994. Contributor to books, including The Cult Film Experience: Beyond All Reason, edited by J. P. Telotte, University of Texas Press (Austin, TX), 1991; The Remote Control Device in the New Age of Television, edited by James R. Walker and Rob Bellamy, Praeger (New York, NY), 1993; Seeing Beyond: Movies, Visions, and Values, edited by Richard P. Sugg, Golden String Press (New York, NY), 2001; Conspiracy Theories in American History: An Encyclopedia, edited by Peter Knight, ABC-Clio (Santa Barbara, CA), 2003; Professional Wrestling: The Myth, the Mat, and American Popular Culture, by Marc Leverette, Edwin Mellen (Lewiston, NY), 2003; 50 Key Television Programs, edited by Glen Creeber, Arnold (London, England), 2004.
Contributor of articles, poetry, short fiction, and reviews to periodicals, including Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, Wallace Stevens Journal, Film Criticism, Journal of Popular Film and Television, Television Quarterly, Seven, and Georgia Review. Member of editorial board of Studies in Popular Culture, 1997—, and Intensities: The Online Journal of Cult Media, 2000—. Organizer, Slayage Conference on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 2004.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Contributions to the following forthcoming books: Art, Science, and Morality: Creative Journeys, edited by Doris B. Wallace; The Coen Brothers: On Screen, in Print, and Beyond, edited by Keith Perry and Joseph Walker; Beyond Fandom: Media Aficionados, Academics, and Allergics, edited by Matt Hills and Jonathan Gray; Grave Concerns: Critical Approaches to Six Feet Under, edited by Kim Akass and Janet McCabe.
SIDELIGHTS: David Lavery once told CA: "My interests are truly eclectic: television studies, film and film theory, autobiography, the creative process, the evolution of consciousness. Underlying and uniting them all, however, is a preoccupation with the nature of imagination in all its forms. My primary motivations for writing are to discover what I think about a given subject and to advance our understanding of the imagination. A variety of inspirations have brought me to my subjects, though I always seem to end up working on projects that seem to need to be done.
"I am an early riser and write almost exclusively in the very early morning. I write all drafts on the computer. Writers who have influenced me include Rainer Maria Rilke, Wallace Stevens, Owen Barfield, Jorge Luis Borges, James Hillman, Loren Eiseley, and William Irwin Thompson."
As a professor at Middle Tennessee State University, Lavery demonstrates his "truly eclectic" nature by teaching courses in subjects he loves: American literature, television studies, and film and film theory. He has produced several analyses of popular television series, but a favorite topic is the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Lavery has taught a course, coedited an online journal, coedited a book, and organized a conference all based on the Buffy television series and movie. Aside from Buffy, Lavery has also analyzed television shows such as Seinfeld, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The X-Files, Angel, and Twin Peaks.
Lavery coedited Fighting the Forces: What's at Stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a compilation of essays about the popular television show, with Rhonda Wilcox. The television show is about the adventures of Buffy, a strong (both physically and mentally) teenage girl, struggling not only with normal, everyday teen angst, but also with vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness that roam the streets of Sunnydale and the halls of Sunnydale High School. The book examines obvious topics, such as feminism and role reversal, in addition to the underlying themes that have made the show a cult hit. According to Dorothy Kuykendal in Extrapolation, "Wilcox and Lavery have opened an intriguing doorway to fans of the show, giving us opportunities to reflect on aspects of the show we have never examined before." Kuykendal continued, noting that the essays in the collection offer "some interesting parallels between Buffy and the traditional lonely, misunderstood Romantic hero. . . . an intriguing exploration of the interdependence between the show's creators and its main supporters," as well the issues of "postmodern politics, the psychological impact of death and suffering as presented by the show, and the rhetoric of music. . . ." Kuykendal concluded, "The style of these essays is overall quite accessible, and the reader's interest is sure to be caught by the piquant feel of the collection itself. Have a look. And don't walk the streets alone after dark in Sunnydale." Deborah Netburn of the New York Observer compared Fighting the Forces to other Buffy-related collections, noting, "The essays come at the show from a better variety of perspectives (race, religion, psychoanalysis, gender, cultural history); and the book has a broader—if more academic—appeal."
Lavery compiled another group of essays in This Thing of Ours: Investigating the Sopranos, this time focusing on the hit HBO television series. As Peter Mattessi noted in Metro Magazine, "Lavery has brought together a diverse collection that encompasses foreign perspectives, close textual readings, cultural analysis, and contemporary gender theory, as well as the local viewpoint of a native New Jerseyan." The essays are divided into several parts, including discussions of media context, men and women, genre and narrative techniques, and cultural contexts. "There is no question that This Thing of Ours is a thoroughly considered collection," Mattessi commented, continuing, "Similarly, the contributors' unconcealed enthusiasm for The Sopranos makes for exciting reading, and a wonderful tendency to adopt the language of the show in their writing."
Lavery coedited Teleparody: Predicting/Preventing the TV Discourse of Tomorrow with Angela Hague. The book, which Matt Duvall of the PopMatters Web site called, "humorous and yet frightening at the same time," is a collection of fake essays and book reviews on books that have not been published. Duvall noted, "The humor of Teleparody: Predicting/Preventing the TV Discourse of Tomorrow is also the source of its impact: these things sound like real scholarly papers." The book parodies traditional reviews and analyses of television shows, proving that scholars can find a hidden subtext in almost any show they watch. Duvall concluded, "This book should frighten us in the same way the original War of the Worlds broadcast frightened so many people—not because it's real, but because it could be."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Extrapolation, fall, 2002, Dorothy Kuykendal, review of Fighting the Forces: What's at Stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, p. 352.
Film Quarterly, fall, 1997, John P. McCarthy, review of Full of Secrets: Critical Approaches to "Twin Peaks," p. 49.
Metro Magazine, spring, 2003, Peter Matessi, review of This Thing of Ours: Investigating the Sopranos, p. 186.
News-Press (Fort Myers, FL), February 20, 2002, Miriam Pereira, "Webwatch: www.slayage.tv," p. 10E.
New York Observer, March 25, 2002, Deborah Netburn, "Media Studies Does Buffy—And Buffy, As Always, Prevails," p. 26.
New York Times Book Review, September 15, 2002, David Kelly, "Deconstruct This!," review of This Thing of Ours, p. 8.
Reference and Research Book News, May, 1995, review of Full of Secrets, p. 41; May, 1997, review of Deny All Knowledge: Reading "The X-Files," p. 123.
Science Fiction Chronicle, March, 1992, review of Late for the Sky: The Mentality of the Space Age, p. 16.
Science-Fiction Studies, November, 1997, Nicola Nixon, review of Deny All Knowledge, p. 513.
Times Higher Education Supplement, March 28, 1997, Graham McCann, review of Deny All Knowledge, p. 23.
University Press Book News, June, 1992, review of Late for the Sky, p. 6.
Wilson Library Bulletin, September, 1992, Tom Carpenter, review of Late for the Sky, p. 107.
Columbia University Press Web site,http://www.columia.edu/cu/cup/ (January 15, 2003), description of This Thing of Ours.
David Lavery's Home Page,http://www.mtsu.edu/~dlavery/ (March 18, 2004).
Film-Philosophy Web site,http://www.film-philosophy.com/ (July, 2003), Jonathan Gray, review of Teleparody: Predicting/Preventing the TV Discourse of Tomorrow.
PopMatters,http://www.popmatters.com/ (December 11, 2002), Matt Duvall, review of Teleparody.
Slayage: The Online International Journal of Buffy Studies Web site,http://www.slayage.tv/ (March 18, 2004), "About David Lavery."
Vampyres Only Web site,http://www.vampyres.com/ (October 6, 2002), Deborah Netburn, review of Fighting the Forces.*