This is the story of retired university professor R. J. Reilly


  • Author R. J. Reilly was born in Detroit, MI, attended De La Salle Collegiate when it was located by City Airport and, as a new high school graduate, was assigned to a U.S. Army combat engineering battalion that served in France and Germany in World War Two. Reilly attended college on the GI Bill after his discharge in 1946, earning Ph.B. (Bachelor’s) and Master’s degrees from the University of Detroit (now the University of Detroit Mercy) and a Ph.D. in English and American literature from Michigan State University. His dissertation, Romantic Religion: A Study of Owen Barfield, C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams and J.R.R. Tolkien, was published in 1971 by the University of Georgia Press and is considered a milestone in its treatment of Owen Barfield. The book was re-issued in 2006 and is available as an e-book.

Reilly taught at the University of Detroit until his early retirement in 1987, when he was honored with the Professor Emeritus title for his contributions to the field. During his long academic career, Reilly continued to publish texts, book reviews, and scholarly articles, one of which, “Henry James and the Morality of Fiction,” won the Norman Foerster Award for the best scholarly essay in the journal American Literature in 1967. In addition to Henry James, a major focus of his academic career has been a study of the development of the American character.

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While he did some fiction writing during his teaching career, including publishing an early short story, “Ars Gratia Artis” in Southern Humanities Review in 1983, the bulk of his novels and short stories were written in his retirement. In crafting them, he has drawn on his experiences as a soldier in World War Two, his long and happy marriage to the late Lena Reilly, his roles as father and head of the family, his teaching career, his love of the Detroit Tigers, and his strong attachment to the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair. In addition to The Prevalence of Love and Over There, his novels and volumes of short stories include the soon-to-be-published Weekend in the Country, The Pelican Affair, The Bronte House, and On the Trail of Truth: Stories of Americans in an Age of Uncertainty. He is currently working on a third volume of short stories.

Reilly’s books are being published by Dog Ear Publishing, LLC, and are available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Ingram, and other book sellers.