Dennis Wise

Lecturer

Director, Undergraduate Studies

Dennis Wilson Wise (PhD, Middle Tennessee State U) is a lecturer in the UA’s Writing Program. Overall, he studies the intersections between political theory and modern fantasy literature, SF, and horror. He’s written prolifically on authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula K. le Guin, and Stephen R. Donaldson, and his work has appeared in several major journals: Tolkien Studies, The Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, Extrapolation, Gothic Studies, Law & Literature, and more. He’s also published more than two dozen book reviews and encyclopedia entries.

Currently, Dr. Wise has two book projects in the works. His first is a monograph called Specters of Tolkien: History, Totality, and Thymos at the Beginning of Epic Fantasy, which addresses the various theoretical complaints against Tolkien’s work. (Basically, Marxist literary critics accuse Tolkien of being “ahistorical” and “uncritical,” but I argue their theoretical presuppositions don’t permit them to see Tolkien’s deep historicity.) Dr. Wise is also editing an anthology called Speculative Poetry and the Modern Alliterative Revival. This is under contract by Fairleigh Dickinson University Press.

In other areas of activity, Dr. Wise also serves as the reviews editor for Fafnir. In 2020, Fafnir became the first academic journal to win a World Fantasy Award. He also serves as the Awards Administrator for the Mythopoeic Society. Lastly, Dr. Wise was greatly honored to receive a Lecturer Teaching Award from the UA Writing Program for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Selected Publications

“Just like Henry James (Except with Cannibalism): The International Weird in H. P. Lovecraft’s ‘The Rats in the Walls.’” Gothic Studies, vol. 23, no. 1, 2021, pp. 96-110.

“On Ways of Studying Tolkien: Notes Toward a Better (Epic) Fantasy Criticism.” Journal of Tolkien Research, vol. 9, no. 1, 2020, pp. 1–25. Link here.

“The Image of Law in Donaldson’s ‘Reave the Just’: Agency, Blame, and Sexual Assault.” Law & Literature, vol. 33, no. 1, 2020, pp. 73–92.

“History and Precarity: Glen Cook and the Rise of Picaresque Epic Fantasy.” Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts, vol. 30, no. 3, 2019, pp. 331–51.

“J.R.R. Tolkien and the 1954 Nomination of E. M. Forster for the Nobel Prize in Literature.” Mythlore, vol. 36, no. 1, 2017, pp. 143–65. Link here.