MEMORIAL SERVICE SCHEDULED FOR PROFESSOR BRIAN WILKIE
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Professor Brian Wilkie, who joined the faculty of the department of English at the University of Arkansas in 1985, died Sunday, Dec. 14, in Fayetteville. A memorial service is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Thursday, Dec.18, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 1722 N. Starr Drive, Fayetteville.
Professor Wilkie, an eminent scholar and an accomplished teacher, enjoyed a distinguished international reputation. He received his B.A. in English from Columbia University in 1951, his master’s in English from the University of Rochester in 1952, and his doctorate in English from the University of Wisconsin in 1959. Before coming to the U of A, he taught at the University of Wisconsin, Dartmouth College and the University of Illinois. When the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Illinois began its Teacher Excellence Award in 1965, Wilkie was the first recipient.
He was the author of numerous books and articles, as well as a co-editor of the widely used anthology "Literature of the Western World," now in its fifth edition. Wilkie was also known as a strong advocate for students, helping numerous graduate students prepare for careers and serving for years as the faculty advisor to the UA Graduate Students in English organization.
"His students always spoke with admiration for his learning, his deep and obvious concern for their education, and, most noticeably, his enthusiasm. He impressed them as a genuine lover of ideas and of art. He was one of the English Department’s treasures," said Charles Adams, Associate Dean of Fulbright College and former chair of the English department.
Professor Wilkie was the author of several other books, including "Romantic Poets and Epic Tradition," a standard work among Romantic scholars, and Blake’s "Thel and Oothoon," as well as over 80 articles, reviews and translations. He had recently finished another major book, "Romanticism and Values." He directed numerous dissertations and taught a variety of courses, including English Romantic Poetry, Shakespeare, Literature and Opera, European Short Story and other courses in world, comparative and English literature.
Wilkie once told a reporter from the Northwest Arkansas Times that he feared on Judgement Day, he would be called before the throne of God and asked to tell, in ten words or less, what constitutes a good poem. He said he would beg to be asked something else, but if pressed, he would answer, "Poetry is what Shelley and Emily Dickinson wrote."
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