University of Maine at Farmington Faculty Member Eric Brown Honored as Trustee Professor

Eric BrownFARMINGTON, ME (June 21, 2011)—Eric Brown, UMF associate professor of English, was recently recognized by University of Maine at Farmington and the University of Maine System as the UMF Trustee Professor for 2011-2012.

Established in 1998 by the University of Maine System Board of Trustees to recognize exemplary full-time faculty members at UMS campuses, the Trustee Professorship promotes excellence in academic programs by providing the opportunity and support for recipients to pursue continued in-depth scholarly work.

As this year’s UMF Trustee Professor, Brown will be integrating two of his areas of expertise—film studies and the work of 17th century poet John Milton—into a major publication on the history of the adaptation of Milton’s works in cinema. “I am very honored and gratified to have my work acknowledged by my UMF colleagues,” said Brown, a UMF faculty member since 2003. “This award gives me the opportunity to focus on a major writing project that I hope will contribute to making Milton’s work come alive for the contemporary audience.”

Brown’s project will take a detailed look at how Milton’s work has appeared throughout the history of cinema and why it has proven so difficult to translate to the motion picture industry in the past. It will also treat the planned feature-length Hollywood adaptation of Milton’s “Paradise Lost” that is scheduled for release in 2012 and how it may make this masterpiece accessible to a whole new generation.

According to Brown, Milton’s “Paradise Lost” is one of the most highly recognized works of literature never to be successfully adapted as a major motion picture. “Great literary works of art are difficult in general to adapt to a mainstream medium like film, especially in the case of ‘Paradise Lost’ that has such a complicated portrayal of good and evil,” said Brown. “But just as watching Shakespeare performed gives the audience another way to visualize his work, seeing Milton’s work on film will give the viewer new insight into his poetry.”

Brown teaches courses in British literature at UMF and was previously a visiting fellow in Renaissance studies at Harvard University. This summer he will be teaching a course at Harvard on “Paradise Lost and Popular Culture.” He received the Warren Skaaren Film Research Endowment Fellowship from the University of Texas, Austin in 2009 and was the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship in 2007.

His publications include more than two dozen essays on writers such as Shakespeare, Milton, Spenser, Sidney and Marlowe. He is the author of “Milton on Film” and is editor of the book “Insect Poetics,” an interdisciplinary collection that theorizes insects in a variety of contexts. He received his B.A. at University of Maine and his Ph.D. in English at Louisiana State University.

Nominees for the Trustee Professorship are recommended to the UMF provost who submits the final appointment to the University of Maine System chancellor for approval. Annual appointments to this esteemed position are announced at UMF’s Michael D. Wilson Symposium at which time UMF’s outgoing Trustee Professor presents a lecture on his research. Jeffrey Thomson, UMF associate professor of creative writing and UMF’s 2010-2010 Trustee Professor, presented a talk on his prose memoir “Landscape with Human Figure” at this year’s Symposium.

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Media contact: Eric Brown, UMF associate professor of English, 207-778-7457, or