Reed, John R(obert) 1938-
REED, John R(obert) 1938-
PERSONAL: Born January 24, 1938, in Duluth, MN; son of John Sam and Josephine (Zuponcic) Reed; married Ruth Yzenbaard (deceased). Education: University of Minnesota, Duluth, B.A. (in music and English), 1959; University of Rochester, Ph.D., 1963. Hobbies and other interests: Writing poetry, music (plays trumpet), travel, cooking, reading.
ADDRESSES: Home—17320 Wildemere, Detroit, MI 48221. Office—Department of English, Wayne State University, 51 W. Warren, Detroit, MI 48202. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, instructor in English, 1962-64; University of Connecticut, Storrs, assistant professor of English, 1964-65; Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, assistant professor, 1965-68, associate professor, 1968-71, professor of English, 1971—.
MEMBER: Modern Language Association of America, American Association of University Professors; Midwest Victorian Studies Association (vice-president, 1979-80; president, 1981-82); Dickens Society; H. G. Wells Society; Victorians Institute.
AWARDS, HONORS: Leverhulme fellow, University of Warwick, 1966-67; Guggenheim fellow, 1971, 1983; named distinguished professor, Wayne State University, 1990; Wayne State University faculty grants.
Old School Ties: The Public Schools in British Literature, Syracuse University Press (Syracuse, NY), 1964.
Perception and Design in Tennyson's "Idylls of the King," Ohio University Press (Athens, OH), 1970.
Hercules (poetry), Fiddlehead Poetry Books (Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada), 1973.
Victorian Conventions, Ohio University Press (Athens, OH), 1975.
A Gallery of Spiders (poetry), Ontario Review Press (Princeton, NJ), 1980.
The Natural History of H. G. Wells, Ohio University Press (Athens, OH), 1982.
Decadent Style, Ohio University Press (Athens, OH), 1985.
Victorian Will, Ohio University Press (Athens, OH), 1989.
Dickens and Thackeray: Punishment and Forgiveness, Ohio University Press (Athens, OH), 1995.
(Compiler) 1100 Illustrations from the Writings of D. L. Moody: For Teachers, Preachers, and Writers, Baker Books (Grand Rapids, MI), 1996.
Life Sentences, Wayne State University Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.
Author of notes and introduction to A Whitman Disciple Visits Tennyson, Tennyson Society (Lincoln, England), 1997. Contributor to books, including Profile of Robert Lowell, edited by Jerome Mazzaro, C. E. Merrill, 1971. Contributor of articles to Western Humanities Review, Victorian Poetry, English Literary History, Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Dickens Studies Annual, and other periodicals, and of poems to Sewanee Review, Poetry, Modern Poetry Studies, and other journals.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Dear Ruth, a collection of prose and poetry; research on the will in nineteenth-century English literature and on decadent style in the arts.
SIDELIGHTS: John R. Reed's book Dickens and Thackeray: Punishment and Forgiveness analyzes two major themes in the fictional works of Charles Dickens and William Thackeray. He points out fundamental differences in the way the two authors handled the notions of punishment and forgiveness, as well as core similarities. He provides context by explaining the ways in which these concepts were legally and popularly defined during the nineteenth century, when Dickens and Thackeray were active; then, he proceeds through the fiction of each writer to assess their individual attitudes. Thackeray's view is presented as generally more subtle and ambiguous than Dickens's, according to Victorian Studies reviewer George J. Worth. He noted that the pairing of Dickens and Thackeray sometimes seemed forced, and observed that Reed "is at his impressive best when he sticks to particular texts. When he generalizes … he sometimes finds himself on shakier ground. In sum, though it confronts its reader with avoidable problems, Dickens and Thackeray is a genuine contribution to our understanding of both novelists." The book was strongly recommended by Robert A. Colby, who called it "fresh and stimulating" in Nineteenth-Century Literature. He had particular praise for Reed's attention to the complexities of Thackeray's plots. The author's survey of the cultural attitudes of the era makes his book "wider-ranging than its title suggests," according to Valerie Grosvenor Myer in Notes and Queries. She considered Dickens and Thackeray: Punishment and Forgiveness to be a "massive contribution to critical discussion of nineteenth-century fiction."
Reed has also published poetry, including Hercules and A Gallery of Spiders. Jerome Mazzaro, reviewing A Gallery of Spiders in the Michigan Quarterly Review, commented: "Reed commits himself to a view of the individual poet's voice as the 'concrete universal' of society and, consequently, to views of greatness in art as being related to comprehensiveness of soul. A Gallery of Spiders makes a fine beginning toward such comprehensiveness, as Reed emerges intelligent, inquisitive, and alternately compassionate and angry." Reed once told CA that Mazzaro's observation helped him to understand that in his poetry, he hopes to achieve "a union of ambiguous and ambivalent emotions with a manner of perception that treats experiences as problems to be solved, though not resolved, by intellect."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Choice, September, 1985, review of Decadent Style, p. 92; June, 1990, review of Victorian Will, p. 1680; September, 1995, M. Timko, review of Dickens and Thackeray: Punishment and Forgiveness, p. 120.
Christianity and Literature, autumn, 1996, Todd Pickett, review of Dickens and Thackeray, p. 85.
Clio, winter, 1984, review of The Natural History of H. G. Wells, p. 181; fall, 1990, review of Victorian Will, p. 96; summer, 1996, review of Dickens and Thackeray, p. 459.
English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920, number 2, 1991, review of Victorian Will, p. 248.
French Review, March, 1987, review of Decadent Style, p. 539.
Journal of English and Germanic Philology, January, 1989, review of Decadent Style, p. 129; April, 1991, review of Victorian Will, p. 259.
Michigan Quarterly Review, fall, 1981.
Modern Fiction Studies, summer, 1983, review of The Natural History of H. G. Wells, p. 266.
Modern Language Review, July, 1988, review of Decadent Style, p. 648.
Nineteenth-Century Literature, December, 1990, review of Victorian Will, p. 374; September, 1996, Robert A. Colby, review of Dickens and Thackeray, p. 260.
Notes and Queries, March, 1996, Valerie Grosvenor Myer, review of Dickens and Thackeray, p. 107.
Reference & Research Book News, September, 1995, review of Dickens and Thackeray, p. 54.
Review of English Studies, February, 1992, review of Victorian Will, p. 122; August, 1997, Terence R. Wright, review of Dickens and Thackeray, p. 411.
Sewanee Review, April, 1988, review of Victorian Conventions, p. 243.
Times Literary Supplement, August 20, 1982.
Victorian Studies, autumn, 1983, review of The Natural History of H. G. Wells, p. 116; spring, 1986, review of Decadent Style, p. 466; spring, 1991, review of Victorian Will, p. 410; summer, 1998, George J. Worth, review of Dickens and Thackeray, p. 642.*