Author Tags: Literary Criticism, Theatre
Born in Hamilton, Ontario, George M. Johnson moved to Kamloops, B.C. in 1991, where he is Professor of English at Thompson Rivers University. He specializes in modern literature, particularly psychological approaches to it and the supernatural in it, as well as biography, playwriting, and screenwriting. As a long-time Chair of the Global and Community Action Ctte at Kamloops United Church, Johnson is a social activist whose plays deal with some form of social justice. His screenplay "Peace Pledge" about Canon Dick Sheppard and the Peace Pledge Union in the 1930s was selected as one of 12 finalists for the Euroscript Screenplay Competition in the U.K.
Combining biography, history and literary analysis, George M. Johnson's Mourning and Mysticism in First World War Literature and Beyond: Grappling with Ghosts (Palgrave Macmillan 2015) examines how the loss of loved ones was endured and justified during World War One in Britain. He examines the influences in this regard of writers that include Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir Oliver Lodge, J.M. Barrie, Rudyard Kipling, Virginia Woolf, Wilfred Owen and Aldous Huxley who all coped with personal losses and traumas with doses of mysticism "making these writers receptive to the possibility of communicating with spirits." Johnson reveals how most of these writers were influenced by the work of Frederic Myers and other key psychical researchers. With avenues such as telepathy, clairvoyance and automatic writing, many people wanted to believe that personality could survive beyond death. Mourning and Mysticism suggests that such explorations were not necessarily delusionary in that they resulted in a therapeutic form of mourning that could be more effective for solace than state-sanctioned representations of mourning such as war memorials.
Selected Writing Awards:
2012 "The Wonder," a screenplay about an Edwardian journalist who becomes obsessed with unraveling the mystery of an uncannily precocious child. Finalist, British Independent Film Festival Competition.
2011 “Rest Assured,” a short play about a harried homeowner who opens his door to two strange solicitors, with resounding consequences. Selected from 327 submissions for annual InspiraTO Festival. Full production, June 2-12, Alumnae Theatre, Toronto. http://www.inspiratofestival.ca
2011 “Rest Assured,” a short play selected from over 450 submissions for annual “Pick of the Vine” show. Little Fish Theatre, San Pedro, California. Full production, January 14-February 19th, 2011. www.littlefishtheatre.org
2007 “Still Life With Nudes,” a comic play about seniors who storm an art gallery demanding that their friend’s outrageous nudes of them be hung there (and involving a yarn bomber). Winner of National Playwriting Competition sponsored by the Regina Little Theatre, for http://www.reginalittletheatre.com/season0607/playwright/default.htm
1994 Twentieth Century Literature, Andrew J. Kappel Prize, judged by John Fowles, for year's outstanding essay, "`The Spirit of the Age': Virginia Woolf's Response to Second Wave Psychology." Twentieth Century Literature 40.2 (Fall): 139-164.
“Still Life With Nudes.” Ryga: A Journal of Provocations (Summer, 2012): 89-180. www.rygajournal.ca
Johnson, George M. Mourning and Mysticism in First World War Literature and Beyond: Grappling with Ghosts (UK.: Palgrave Macmillan 2015) 9781137332028
Johnson, George M. Dynamic Psychology in Modernist British Fiction. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.
---. Editor and Introduction. Late-Victorian and Edwardian British Novelists, Second Series, a volume of the Dictionary of Literary Biography. Detroit: Gale Research. Detroit: Gale Research, 1999.
---. J.D. Beresford. New York: Twayne/Simon and Schuster, 1998.
---. Editor and Introduction. British Novelists Between the Wars, a volume of the Dictionary of Literary Biography. Detroit: Gale Research, 1998.
----. Ed. and Introduction. Late-Victorian and Edwardian British
Novelists, First Series, a volume of the Dictionary of Literary Biography. Detroit: Gale Research, 1995.