J.R.R. Tolkien, the famous author of The Lord of the Rings, once said that “Not all those who wander are lost,” and there are many examples of university professors who have tried different elds and have been able to shine in more than one of them.
That is the case with Dr. John Brenkman. Al- though he is an expert on novels, he began his career in a different eld. “I probably had more emphasis on poetry and philosophy than I did on the novel,” says this native of Peoria, Illinois. “Then, sometime in the mid to late 80’s, I had a sense that things were happening in the contemporary novel that engaged our society in a new way, like the controversy over Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, which became a global controversy about a novel, probably the most heated discussion of an unread novel in our history.”