Irish literature expert named Weiner Professor

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On March 8, 2007

Dr. Dillon Johnston, former professor of English at Wake Forest University, has been named the 2007 Maxwell C. Weiner Distinguished Professor of Humanities at the University of Missouri-Rolla. He began his work with the UMR English and technical communication department in January. 

Johnston moved to St. Louis in 2002 to join his wife in the English department at Washington University, where he served as director of the writing program until 2005. Since then, he has been named a senior lecturer, teaching graduate courses in Irish literature. During his 27 years at Wake Forest, Johnston founded and directed the Wake Forest University Press, which became the major publisher of Irish poetry in North America. Johnston was also instrumental in Wake Forest University’s acquisition of the Dolmen Archive, one of the two most important archives of recent Irish literature. 

Johnston received his doctorate at the University of Virginia and taught at St. Lawrence University for four years. He is the author of “Irish Poetry After Joyce” and “Poetic Economies of England and Ireland, 1912-2000.” He also co-authored with his wife, Guinn Batten, the modern poetry section for the “The Cambridge History of Irish Literature,” published last year. He has contributed essays to a number of books on Irish poetry, and is currently at work on a new book, “Two Cities: Irish Poetry in the Sixties.” 

While at UMR, Johnston is teaching an English course, “Situating Modern Irish Poetry.” His fields of expertise include modern and contemporary Irish poetry, modern Irish literature, British poetry, James Joyce and Victorian literature. Johnston is currently organizing an Irish Festival to be held at UMR this March and April. The festival will include three poetry readings, a lecture by Johnston, a night of traditional Irish music, and a screening of the film “Michael Collins.” For more information on the festival, contact Linda Sands of the UMR department of English and technical communication at

UMR’s Maxwell C. Weiner Distinguished Professorship in Humanities, established by an estate gift to the university in 1999, is rotated annually or biennially among academic departments in the UMR College of Arts and Sciences. Johnston will be working and teaching as a member of the English and technical communication department at UMR. 

Weiner was a graduate of UMR. He also studied at the University of Hawaii and at Washington University in St. Louis. He was retired from Westinghouse Electric Corp. 

Previous Maxwell C. Weiner Distinguished Professors include Dr. Gilberto Perez, who served in the English department from 2000 to 2001; Dr. Charles Alexander, who served in the history and political science department in 2002; Dr. Caroline Whitbeck, who served in the philosophy department in 2003; Dr. Anne Goodwyn-Jones, who served in the English department in 2004; Dr. H. Roger Grant, who served in the history and political science department in 2005, and Dr. Wade Robison, who served in the philosophy department in 2006.

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On March 8, 2007. Posted in News