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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

'Montreal Review' Publishes Essays by SU Professors

The Montreal Review SALISBURY, MD---Dr. John Wenke, professor of English at Salisbury University, was happy that his satiric essay, “Public Figures,” was published by The Montreal Review, an online magazine examining books, art and culture.

When he checked its website, however, he was even more pleased to see the names of two friends, Drs. Francis Kane and Jerome Miller, professors emeriti in SU’s Philosophy Department, with his.

Reflecting on a little known short story by Flannery O’Connor “A Stroke of Good Fortune” and contrasting it with Leo Tolstoy’s well known “Death of Ivan Illyich,” Kane’s article explores the philosophical and literary significance of a turn from the worldless, private, individual encounter with mortality to the timely, communal, public world opened up by natality or birth.

Miller’s essay, “Desire, Passion and the Politics of Culture,” contrasts two personal experiences:  a marijuana high as a young man and, later, with his wife, stumbling across a threadbare production of Puccini’s La Boheme, in New York—made memorial by the skill and passion of students from the Juilliard School.  Miller draws distinction between “stoned pleasures” and those which open individuals up to a mysterious good beyond themselves.

In his humorous satire, Wenke reviews what it means to be a public figure, from Amanda Bynes throwing a bong out a hotel window while a policeman stands outside the door to 1-year-old Prince George scattering magazines and newspapers at home.

The peccadillos of the ordinary and famous can be entertaining and instructive, except for the fact that the former rarely make headlines.  One of Wenke’s most jaw-dropping examples is the divorcee who, on an empty stomach, goes to a Kentucky Derby party where he drinks too much, runs into his ex-wife and then is, metaphorically, off to the races.

Wenke is a keen observer of American character.  An expert on Herman Melville and J.D. Salinger, the SU professor has published two books, numerous scholarly essays, chapters and reviews.  His short story “Choke Hold” won an Individual Artist Award in fiction from the Maryland State Arts Council, and others have appeared in numerous journals.

 For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU website at www.salisbury.edu


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