Dr. J. Don Vann
J. Don Vann is a retired University of North Texas Regent’s Professor
and Professor Emeritus in English. He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees
from TCU and his Ph.D. from Texas Tech, then joined the faculty of UNT
in 1964. He taught courses in Victorian literature, particularly
Dickens, Tennyson, and Browning. His doctoral dissertation on the
critical reception of David Copperfield in London newspapers led him to
be a founding member of the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals
in which he held various offices. He is also a member of and regularly
attends the annual meeting of the London Pickwick Club, founded by
Cedric Dickens, a great-grandson of the novelist. Don is the author or
editor of eight books and dozens of articles. A ninth book, Tennyson’s
Theory of Poetry is underway.
A confirmed Anglophile, he made his first visit to England in 1965 to
conduct research at the British Library, felt immediately at home, and
has made many trips since (he does not know the exact number, but
estimates it at somewhere around forty). Several of these trips have
been for five-month stays while on research grants. In 1984-85 he taught
at Christ’s Hospital, an English Boy’s school founded in 1553, the first
American ever to have taught there. Also, he taught in the UNT London
program in the fall of 1993 and has taken classes of UNT students for
summer courses in London on three occasions.
Having been members of the London Dickens Fellowship for many years, Don
and his wife, Dolores, founded the Denton Dickens Fellowship in 1987.
The branch received a charter from the international Dickens Fellowship
the following year. On two occasions he was given the honor of
delivering the eulogy at the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Dickens’s
grave in Poet’s Corner, Westminster Abbey.
Dr. J. Don Vann biography taken from Denton Dickens Fellowship