West, Mark I. 1955–

views updated

West, Mark I. 1955–

PERSONAL: Born May 27, 1955, in Denver, CO; son of Walter (a dentist) and Carolyn (a homemaker) West; married Nancy Northcott (a writer), September 26, 1987; children: Gavin. Ethnicity: "Swedish and Polish/Jewish." Education: Attended Antioch College, 1973; Franconia College, B.A., 1975; University of WisconsinGreen Bay, M.E.A.S., 1980; Bowling Green State University, Ph.D., 1983. Politics: Democrat.

ADDRESSES: Home—Charlotte, NC. Office—Department of English, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 9201 University City Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28223-0001; fax: 704-687-3228. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Menninger Foundation, Topeka, KS, editorial assistant, 1982, archivist, 1983–84; Washburn University of Topeka, Topeka, adjunct assistant professor of English, 1984; University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, assistant professor, 1984–90, associate professor, 1990–96, professor of English, 1996–, director of American studies, 1992–2002, associate dean for general education, 2002–. Conference presenter. Also worked as a puppeteer and a preschool teacher.

MEMBER: Children's Literature Association (vice president, 1999; president, 2000).


Children, Culture, and Controversy, Archon Books (Hamden, CT), 1988.

Trust Your Children: Voices against Censorship in Children's Literature, Neal-Schuman (New York, NY), 1988, expanded 2nd edition, 1997.

(Editor) Before Oz: Juvenile Fantasy Stories from Nineteenth-Century America, Archon Books (Hamden, CT), 1989.

Wellsprings of Imagination: The Homes of Children's Authors, Neal-Schuman (New York, NY), 1992.

Roald Dahl, Twayne Publishers (New York, NY), 1992.

(Editor) A Wondrous Menagerie: Animal Fantasy Stories from American Children's Literature, Archon Books (Hamden, CT), 1994.

(Editor) Westward to a High Mountain: The Colorado Writings of Helen Hunt Jackson, Colorado Historical Society (Denver, CO), 1994.

Everyone's Guide to Children's Literature, Highsmith Press (Fort Atkinson, WI), 1997.

(With Lucy Rollin) Psychoanalytic Responses to Children's Literature, McFarland and Co. (Jefferson, NC), 1999.

(Editor) Bits of Colorado: Helen Hunt Jackson's Writings for Young People, Filter Press (Palmer Lake, CO), 2000.

(Editor) Helen Hunt Jackson: Selected Colorado Writings, Filter Press (Palmer Lake, CO), 2002.

A Children's Literature Tour of Great Britain, Scarecrow Press (Lanham, MD), 2003.

Contributor to books. Contributor of articles and review essays to periodicals, including Children's Literature in Education, Lion and the Unicorn, Journal of Children's Literature, New York Times Book Review, Publishers Weekly, and Charlotte Observer. Editor, Five Owls, 1999–2006; book review editor, Children's Literature Association Quarterly, 2000–.

SIDELIGHTS: Mark I. West once told CA: "Throughout my writing career, I have focused on children's literature. My professional interest in this subject grew out of my earlier work as a puppeteer and a preschool teacher. Although all of my books relate to children's literature, they do not all take the same approach to the subject.

"I have written two books that deal with controversies in the field of children's literature. In Children, Culture, and Controversy, I trace the history of various attempts to suppress controversial forms of children's culture, such as dime novels, series books, and comic books. In Trust Your Children: Voices Against Censorship in Children's Literature, I interview numerous children's authors whose books have been targeted by censors.

"One of the authors whom I interviewed for Trust Your Children was Roald Dahl. I became so intrigued with Dahl that I decided to write a book-length study of his fiction. Simply titled Roald Dahl, this book came out of part of Twayne's English Authors Series.

"I am also interested in how children's authors incorporate real places in their fiction. I addressed this topic in my book Wellsprings of Imagination: The Homes of Children's Authors. A Children's Literature Tour of Great Britain also deals with this topic.

"Of my various books, the one that has sold the most copies is a reference book titled Everyone's Guide to Children's Literature. In this book, I provide information on how to conduct research in the field of children's literature. The chapters deal with such topics as reference works, journals, professional associations, and special library collections.

"My most theoretical book to date is Psychoanalytic Responses to Children's Literature, which I wrote with Lucy Rollin. I became interested in psychoanalytic theory when I worked as the archivist at the Menninger Foundation in Topeka, Kansas. However, since this book is written for a general audience, Lucy Rollin and I tried to avoid using psychoanalytic jargon."