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Van Wienen, Mark W.

Van Wienen, Mark W.

PERSONAL:

Male.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Department of English, Northern Illinois University, 1425 W. Lincoln Hwy., DeKalb, IL 60115-2825. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, historian, and educator. Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, associate professor of English.

WRITINGS:

Partisans and Poets: The Political Work of American Poetry in the Great War, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 1997.

(Editor) Rendezvous with Death: American Poems of the Great War, University of Illinois Press (Urbana, IL), 2002.

Contributor to periodicals, including American Literature, American Literary History, Modern Fiction Studies, and American Quarterly.

SIDELIGHTS:

Mark W. Van Wienen is an author and educator who teaches at Northern Illinois University. As a literary historian, Van Wienen focuses his research on socialist traditions in American literature, particularly during the years 1890 to 1940, and in the works of Upton Sinclair, W.E.B. DuBois, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, noted a biographer on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Unit for Criticism & Interpretative Theory Web site.

In Partisans and Poets: The Political Work of American Poetry in the Great War, Van Wienen "examines a body of neglected verse, reminding us that poetry once had a defined place in public discourse and mattered as a medium for communicating and influencing beliefs," remarked Stephen Matterson in the Modern Language Review. In his analysis, Van Wienen "examines the historical, social, political, racial, and gender-based components of poetry production as they address America's alienation from and subsequent participation in World War I," noted Australia Tarver in College Literature. The materials covered in Partisans and Poets, including Food Administration propaganda, courtroom testimony, feminist songbooks, and poetry columns in newspapers, "offer poetic representations of war and peace substantially at odds with those available in standard modernist works of the period," noted Caren Irr in American Literature. Van Wienen is less concerned with the actual aesthetics and structure of war poetry than in how such poetry serves wartime politics and ideology, Tarver noted. He points out that the prevalence of war poetry in the popular press from 1914 to 1918 rendered it more representative of American culture than other works found in academic or literary journals of the time. Van Wienen looks carefully at poetry produced by minority groups and organizations, particularly labor, feminists, and African Americans. As the United States moved toward joining European allies France, England, and Belgium in the war, race became a more significant issue, particularly in how it allowed blacks the chance for advancement and improvement through military service, noted Matterson. Van Wienen also argues that "poetry both existed within the dominant cultural hegemony and was a medium for dissent from it," as various groups within the United States worked at determining their position on America's inexorable slide toward war. He seeks to reconsider the value and effectiveness of war poetry from the period, particularly that poetry addressing issues related to the home front, Irr noted. A "well-researched book of passion and energy, Partisans and Poets is an exercise of inclusion into American literary history," Tarver concluded. The book is a "boldly polemical and original study that is certainly worth the attention of scholars of the twentieth century," Irr stated.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

American Literature, June, 1998, Caren Irr, review of Partisans and Poets: The Political Work of American Poetry in the Great War, p. 409.

College Literature, fall, 1999, Australia Tarver, review of Partisans and Poets, p. 261.

Modern Language Review, July, 1999, Stephen Matterson, review of Partisans and Poets, p. 816.

ONLINE

University of Illinois Press Web site,http://www.press.uillinois.edu/ (March 28, 2007), biography of Mark W. Van Wienen.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Unit for Criticism & Interpretative Theory Web site,http://criticism.english.uiuc.edu/ (March 28, 2007), biography of Mark W. Van Wienen.

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