Michael Ferber, English Graduate Director
About Michael Ferber, English Graduate Director
Michael Ferber, born in 1944, attended Swarthmore College, where he concentrated on mathematics and physics until he converted to the humanities, ending with a BA in Ancient Greek with highest honors in 1966. While at Swarthmore he joined the civil rights movement and then the opposition to the American invasion of Vietnam. After a year at Harvard Graduate School in English, Ferber helped organize the draft-resistance movement and returned his own draft card to the Justice Department. For this work he was indicted for conspiracy in Federal Court along with Dr. Benjamin Spock and Rev. William Sloane Coffin. In 1969, after they were acquitted on appeal, he dropped out of Harvard for two years to write a book about draft resistance and to teach English in Japan. He returned to Harvard in 1971 and finished his doctorate in 1975, with a dissertation on William Blake.
Ferber was an Assistant Professor of English at Yale from 1975 to 1982, after which he again took a leave from academia to work in Washington at the Coalition for a New Foreign and Military Policy as a writer and lobbyist on nuclear weapon systems. He joined the English Department at UNH in 1987 as an Associate Professor, and was made Professor of English and Humanities in 1993. He teaches courses in Romantic poetry and in the epic from Homer to Dante, as well as occasional courses in nonviolence and in the literature of the Vietnam War; he also takes part in the Humanities Program surveys of western culture. He won an Excellence in Teaching Award in 1996.
He has published a monograph, The Social Vision of William Blake (Princeton, 1985), and some forty articles and reviews. Since coming to UNH, however, his writing has taken a more pedagogical turn: he has written two introductory surveys for Penguin Books, one on Blake (1991), the other on Shelley (1993), and a Dictionary of Literary Symbols (Cambridge, 1999) The second edition is pictured below. In the 1990s he turned to European Romantic poetry and began translating from French and German; with the help of many other translators he published European Romantic Poetry (Pearson Longman, 2005) an anthology of some sixty poets in translation. He also edited A Companion to European Romanticism (Blackwell, 2005), a collection of about thirty new essays on many aspects of the Romantic movement.
Michael Ferber assumed the duties of Graduate Director in the summer of 2006.