Robert A. Morace
Contemporary Fiction, Scottish Fiction, American Literature, The Short Story, and Film
The first day of class, my tenth-grade English teacher, Mr. Lacopo, told me to wipe the smile off my face or he’d throw me through the wall. Although I didn’t know I had been smiling, I followed his suggestion, as well as another he made a few months later: that I should consider studying English in college. I have never stopped reading (as in reading voraciously, although I no longer read Tom Corbett Space Cadet books), and I have never stopped studying literature, trying to understand how it works and how it came to be written and received. I can’t really think of myself as a teacher without thinking of myself as a student, and just the way I ask my students to write about literature in order to understand it, I do the same: I wouldn’t know it, or know it well, if I didn’t write about it. Reading, teaching, writing: the golden triangle. To make a livelihood out of what I love to do, reading and passing on my knowledge and, even more, my enthusiasm for what I read to others: it doesn’t get any better than that. Doing all this at Daemen has helped. I originally came to Daemen to teach American literature. (Funnily enough, the subject of my PhD dissertation, Frank Norris, is the author of The Octopus, a novel I first read in Mr. Lacopo’s tenth-grade American Literature class.) But although I still do teach American Literature, the college and the English Department have been flexible enough to allow me to pursue other interests--contemporary British (especially Scottish) fiction and film—and then to share these interests with students. So, my thanks to them—and to Mr. Lacopo and indeed to all my English teachers.
I am the author of four books--Irvine Welsh (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting (Continuum,2001), The Dialogic Novels of Malcolm Bradbury and David Lodge (Southern Illinois University Press, 1989) and John Gardner: An Annotated Secondary Bibliography (Garland, 1984)--editor of two others--John Cheever: Critical Insights (Salem/EBSCO, 2011) and (with Kathryn VanSpanckeren) of John Gardner: Critical Perspectives (Southern Illinois University Press, 1982). In addition to my many book reviews and articles in standard reference series such as Dictionary of Literary Biography and Contemporary Novelists, I have published numerous essays in scholarly journals as well as in books on John Cheever, Louis Erdrich, John Gardner, postmodernism, contemporary Scottish literature, film and American Puritanism. I have taught in Warsaw, Poland (as Senior Fulbright Lecturer), and in Beijing, China (Fall 2010 and Fall 2012); I have lectured in India, have long served as Consulting Editor for the journal Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction and in 1996 was awarded the University of Wyoming's Burger Prize for best theater essay, on the Chilean writer Ariel Dorfman's play, Death and the Maiden. In addition to the collection of Cheever essays mentioned above, my most recent publications include “Kurt Vonnegut Jr: Sermons on the Mount” (Critique, 2010), “James Robertson and Contemporary Scottish Gothic” (Gothic Studies, 2011), “The Devolutionary Jekyll and Post-devolutionary Hyde of the Two Morvern Callars” (Critique 2012), essays on Scotland and China in Generation X Goes Global (Routledge, 2013) and (with Intisar Hibschweiler) a case study of Daemen’s core curriculum (Using the VALUE Rubrics for Improvement of Learning and Authentic Assessment, AAC&U, 2013). I am currently completing a book on post-devolutionary Scottish fiction and will participate in the July 2014 World Congress of Scottish Literatures (Glasgow, Scotland).
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