Lawrence I. Berkove, a full professor of English at the University of Michigan-Dearborn (UM-D), retired to emeritus status in 2003 after 39 years of teaching in its humanities department.
He is a prolific and well-known researcher in American literature, and is respected worldwide as an authority on Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, Jack London, and the Sagebrush School writers of America’s West. Many of his essays and books, both editions of important 19th century texts (which he recovered from obscurity) as well as scholarly studies of known works of literature, are now standard works on these topics. Berkove’s bibliography comprises over 195 items. Twenty of them are books (ten since retirement), the most recent of which (2016) is an original illustrated story of children’s fiction.
In terms of service, Berkove was chair of the humanities department for two years, the founder and director of UM-D’s American Studies Program, a member of numerous faculty committees, and president of the local chapter of the AAUP for several terms. Beyond UM-D, he was elected to serve first as vice president then as president of the Michigan College English Association, the Jack London Society, and the Mark Twain Circle of America. In 1981-82, he was invited to Japan as a visiting professor of American literature at Rikkyo University in Tokyo. He was subsequently invited twice to return to Japan to give a series of lectures. In the fall of 1992, UM-D awarded Berkove its Distinguished Research Award; he was also awarded a Distinguished Fulbright Lectureship to South Korea. He returned to give a series of lectures in Korea in a later year, and was also subsequently invited to speak at universities in Taiwan, Thailand, Australia, and, several times, in Israel.
The University of Nevada-Reno houses the new Lawrence I. Berkove Collection in its library special collections room. This collection includes Berkove’s archives on the Sagebrush School (probably the most important one in existence), his major archive on Bierce, and his important one on Twain.