Loving, Jerome 1941–
Loving, Jerome 1941–
(Jerome MacNeill Loving)
PERSONAL: Born December 25, 1941, in Philadelphia, PA; son of James Josephus and Nancy (MacNeill) Loving; married Cathleen Gervais Creighton (a teacher), July 3, 1965; children: David C., Alison Cameron. Education: Pennsylvania State University, B.A., 1964; Duquesne University, M.A., 1970; Duke University, Ph.D., 1973.
ADDRESSES: Home—1515 Wolf Run, College Station, TX 77840. Office—Department of English, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Taught high school in Pittsburgh, PA, 1968–69; Robert Morris College, Chicago, IL, instructor, 1970–71; Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, assistant professor, 1973–76, associate professor, 1976–81, professor of English, 1981–2003, distinguished professor, 2003–. Fulbright lecturer at Leningrad State University, 1978, and Sorbonne Nouvelle, University of Paris, 1989; visiting professor at Sorbonne, University of Paris, 1984, University of Texas at Austin, 1986, and California State University at Fresno, 1990–92. Guest on radio and television programs. Military service: U.S. Navy, 1964–67; served in Vietnam, 1966; became lieutenant junior grade.
MEMBER: International Association of University Professors of English, Modern Language Association.
AWARDS, HONORS: National Endowment for the Humanities grants, 1974, 1977, and 1993; Fulbright Awards, 1977, and 1989; faculty development grants, Texas A&M University, 1987, 1995, and 2001; California Council for the Humanities grant, 1992; Huntington Library grant, 1994; Research award, Texas A&M College of Liberal Arts, 2000; Academic Inspiration award, Texas A&M University, 2000; Texas A&M University grants, 2000–01 and 2002–03, both for The Last Titan: A Life of Theodore Dreiser; College of Liberal Arts enhancement grant, 2002; John Simon Guggenheim memorial fellowship, 2002–03, and National Endowment for the Humanities summer stipend, 2002, both for The Last Titan: A Life of Theodore Dreiser.
Walt Whitman's Champion: William Douglas O'Connor, Texas A&M University Press (College Station, TX), 1978.
Emerson, Whitman, and the American Muse (biography and literary criticism), University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill, NC), 1982.
Lost in the Customhouse: Authorship in the American Renaissance (literary criticism), University of Iowa Press (Iowa City, IA), 1993.
Walt Whitman: The Song of Himself (biography), University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1999.
The Last Titan: A Life of Theodore Dreiser (biography), University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 2005.
Contributor to books, including Encyclopedia of American Poetry, edited by Eric L. Haralson, Fitzroy Dearborn (Chicago, IL), 1988; Edith Wharton: A Forward Glance, edited by Susan Goodman, Clare Colquit, and Candace Wade, University of Delaware, 1999; American National Biography, edited by John A. Garaty, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1999; and A Historical Guide to Leaves of Grass, edited by David S. Reynolds, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 2000. Contributor to history and literary journals, including Walt Whitman Quarterly Review. Editorial board member, South Central Modern Language Association Bulletin, 1978–80, Walt Whitman Quarterly Review, and University of Mississippi Studies in English.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A biography of Mark Twain.
SIDELIGHTS: Jerome Loving is an English professor and author of a number of volumes, including several biographies of literary figures. His particular interest in Walt Whitman is reflected in his Walt Whitman: The Song of Himself, in which he describes Whitman as "half New York journalist, half New England transcendentalist." Loving begins the biography during the Civil War period, when Whitman nursed the wounded as he documented the atrocities of war. He then goes back in time to Whitman's earlier years as a journalist and editor. Included is Loving's close reading of Whitman's Leaves of Grass (1855), and comments on its many editions, one of which he edited himself. The Whitman scholar makes the connection between various Whitman poems and the events that inspired them. He also studies the "Calamus" poems in which Whitman wrote of homosexual love, as well as examining the poet's views on capital punishment and slavery. An Atlantic Monthly contributor warned that this volume is not an introduction to Whitman's work because it assumes the reader is already familiar with it. The reviewer concluded that "Loving has provided a fine, thoroughly interesting, worthwhile biography with much new material." An Economist reviewer wrote that "this biography is hugely learned, and very acute in its readings of the life in relation to the work."
Loving studies the life of the author of the two naturalist novels Sister Carrie (1900) and An American Tragedy (1925) in The Last Titan: A Life of Theodore Dreiser. Dreiser (1871–1945) was the twelfth child born to poor German Catholic immigrants who settled in Indiana. He moved to Chicago and became a talented novelist who, like Whitman and Ralph Waldo Emerson, rose above Victorian constraints and repression. Loving writes of Dreiser's sympathies for the poor and oppressed, but also of the author's darker side, including how he was not above using people to his own advantage and for creating characters in his books. "Indeed," wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor, "Loving has examined every inch of Dreiser's considerable output and sets each character and plot twist into the framework of the author's long life." Mark Athitakis wrote in a review for the Chicago Sun Times Online that "Loving made a wise call in picking Dreiser for a biographical subject: he was rich and poor, high-minded and petty, brilliant and frustrating. Better still, he exemplified his times."
Loving once told CA: "Criticism ought to focus more on the author's intellectual autonomy and less on the possibility that he or she is a cultural automaton."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Atlantic Monthly, May, 1999, review of Walt Whitman: The Song of Himself.
Booklist, March 15, 1999, Michael Spinella, review of Walt Whitman, p. 1274.
Commentary, June, 1999, Algis Valiunas, review of Walt Whitman, p. 70.
Economist, May 8, 1999, review of Walt Whitman.
Journal of English and Germanic Philology, January, 1995, H. Daniel Peck, review of Lost in the Customhouse: Authorship in the American Renaissance, p. 150.
Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2004, review of The Last Titan: A Life of Theodore Dreiser, p. 1186.
Library Journal, March 1, 1999, Mirela Roncevic, review of Walt Whitman, p. 84; February 1, 2005, Charles C. Nash, review of The Last Titan, p. 80.
New Republic, August 16, 1999, Paul Berman, review of Walt Whitman, p. 32.
Publishers Weekly, February 8, 1999, review of Walt Whitman, p. 204; February 21, 2005, review of The Last Titan, p. 171.
Chicago Sun Times Online, http://www.suntimes.com/ (March 13, 2005), Mark Athitakis, review of The Last Titan.