An overview of R.J. Reilly's scholarly literature


Robert Reilly was born in August 1925 in Detroit, Michigan. After serving in the U.S. Army in World War Two, he received his Ph.B. and M.A. English degrees from the University of Detroit and his Ph.D. degree from Michigan State University.

Robert Reilly joined the University of Detroit as an English instructor in 1957, and was promoted to assistant professor, associate professor and then full professor.

His primary areas of focus were American Literature and Literary Criticism, which he taught for 33 years. His special research interest has been the development of the American character.

His essay “Henry James and the Morality of Fiction” won the Norman Foerster Award as the best essay to appear in American Literature in 1967.

His book Romantic Religion: A Study of Barfield, Lewis, Williams, and Tolkien (1971) was selected by the Modern Language Association for inclusion in its Scholar’s Library. Romantic Religion was reissued by Steiner Books in 2006.

Dr. Reilly’s writings include “Owen Barfield: Symbol and Teacher,” originally published [Tolkien and the Critics; Essays on J. R. R. Tolkien's the Lord of the Rings,] by Quest magazine, and he is considered one of the first Barfield scholars. His essay “Tolkien and the Fairy Story” appeared in Tolkien and the Critics (1968). His work has appeared in other professional journals, and he has had short works of fiction published.

In 1976, Dr. Reilly and James T. Callow, Ph.D., fellow English Professor at the University of Detroit, co-authored Guide to American Literature from Beginnings through Walt Whitman and, in 1977, Guide to American Literature from Emily Dickinson to the Present.

When Dr. Reilly retired from teaching in 1987, he was honored with the Professor Emeritus title. Since retirement, he has continued to write fiction and is at work on a scholarly examination of the development of the American character.

Republished from the University of Detroit Mercy