Skip to main content
Department of English

Dan Pearlman

Dan Pearlman Professor Emeritus, English

Ph.D. Columbia University
M.A. Columbia University
B.A. Brooklyn College

Dan Pearlman, born and raised in New York City, got his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at Columbia University and soon became established as an Ezra Pound specialist, publishing The Barb of Time: On the Unity of Ezra Pound's Cantos with Oxford University Press in 1969. One of the highlights of his academic career, in fact, was traveling across Italy with Pound in 1968. He soon moved to Spain, where he wrote a couple of novels (1971-1974). Afterwards he returned to academic life (scholarship, and a couple of English Department chairmanships: University of Idaho, URI). Retired as of June 2005, Pearlman has been a professor of English at the University of Rhode Island since 1980 with teaching specialties in creative writing and modern British and American poetry. On a more mundane level, his brief composition handbook Guide to Rapid Revision has survived numerous changes in academic fashion—and the demise of several of its publishers—and is now in its eighth edition, currently with Longman.

In 1982, shedding his last chairmanship, he began to dedicate his creative energies to his first love, writing fiction. In 1987, his stories and novellas began appearing in various literary and genre magazines and anthologies ( Amazing Stories; New England Review; Florida Review; The Silver Web; Quarterly West; Semiotext(e) SF; Synergy [HBJ]; Simulations [Citadel]; The Year's Best Fantastic Fiction, 1996; Imaginings [Pocket Books, 2003], et al.). In 1995 he founded CLF, the Council for the Literature of the Fantastic. In 1999, after producing five print newsletters hosting an international array of contributors, CLF continued as on online magazine only and is now on indefinite hiatus.

With a penchant toward irony and satire, as a writer he leans toward the literary "fantastic," especially toward magic realism. He published his first book of fiction in 1995, The Final Dream & Other Fictions (Permeable Press: a dozen mostly previously published stories), followed in 1997 by a novel, Black Flames (White Pine Press), an excursion into the Spanish Civil War through the warped recollections of a troubled old ex-soldier—his only book to have completely sold out.

His third book of fiction, The Best-Known Man in the World and Other Misfits (Aardwolf Press, 2001) is a collection of a dozen stories—again, previously published in journals, etc.—that range the gamut of genres from literary realism to the fantastic. His first science-fiction novel, Memini (Prime Books, 2003) explores a future society governed by global amnesiacs [ Publisher's Weekly: "be prepared for a whirlwind ride with no pause for breath"]. His new novel, Weeds in Franco's Garden, is based on his prolonged residence in Spain (1971-74) and is now in the hands of the Serendipity Literary Agency, New York. To date, stories of his have been published in translation in six languages. Some of his stories are accessible online, and probably also some of his out-of-print books.

In addition to narrative fiction, he has also worked with film scripts. His screen adaptation of his novella The Final Dream was a finalist in the New Century Awards competition for 1999. (Hollywood took a whiff and shied away.) Pearlman’s work has received outstanding reviews in periodicals such as Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and the Washington Post.