D. J. Trela attended University of Aberdeen from 1978 till 1979. In 1980 he completed his studies at University of Illinois at Chicago Circle, obtaining his Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1984 he received Doctor of Philosophy from University of Edinburgh. Mr. Trela did a postdoctoral study at University of Chicago in 1987-1989, and Roosevelt University, starting from 1990.
Between 1985 and 1987 Mr. Trela was a teacher of English at Pan American University (now University of Texas Rio Grande Valley), Edinburg, TX. From 1987 to 1989 D. J. Trela served as a teacher of composition and rhetoric at DePaul University, Chicago, IL. He acted as a teacher at University of St. Francis, Joliet, IL, in 1988-1989.
Then D. J. Trela joined the staff of Roosevelt University, Chicago, working as an assistant professor during 1989-1994, associate professor of English starting from 1994, department head in the years 1990-1993, director of School of Liberal Studies since 1994. In 1989 he was appointed Norman and Charlotte Strouse lecturer at University of California, Santa Cruz. He was a tour organizer and leader of Edinburgh International Festival.
He is known to be a contributor to books, including Victorian Scandals: Essays on Gender and Genre. He is also a contributor of articles and reviews to academic journals, including Victorian Institutes Journal, Bibliotheck, American Notes and Queries, Wordsworth Circle, and Studies in Scottish Literature. From 1993 to 1995 he was an associate editor for Carlyle Studies Annual, book review editor since 1995. In 1996 he resumed his office as a guest editor for Victorian Periodicals Review.
"[I'm] Free-thinking, but strongly influenced by Protestant Christianity".
D. J. Trela commented on his political views as "I vote, but with increasingly diminishing enthusiasm".
"Like many people interested in writing but uncertain of the market for what I would be likely to produce, I chose an academic career as the best possible outlet for my creative and research interests. Historical research and investigation have fascinated me since my high school days. Salaried work in academia seems to give me a significantly greater control over a larger portion of my time. I emphasize the ‘seems’ for, having worked as a teacher and administrator for nearly a dozen years now, I find I have more to say but less time in which to write."
"My interest in nineteenth-century studies grows out of a general interest in issues of morality and justice, matters which intimately concerned many of the eminent Victorians, and my college reading of Carlyle, who struck me at the time as a forceful moral guide, whose message of transcendent spirituality appealed to me enormously. More recently, work on Oliphant has moved me into gender studies, but has allowed me to retain my major interest in primary documents and works. I am working my way slowly through Oliphant’s unpublished correspondence and her voluminous published essays, reviews, biographies, and fiction, building up to an expanded study of her criticism of major Victorian authors and her thoughts on major issues of her day, particularly the women’s rights movement."
Modern Language Association of America , United States
American Association of University Professors , United States
Research Society for Victorian Periodicals , United States
Victorians Institute , United States
Midwest Modern Language Association , United States
Midwest Victorian Studies Association , United States
American Friends of the University of Edinburgh , United States
Scholarship Association of the University of Illinois at Chicago , United States
Carlyle Society , United Kingdom
Royal Scottish Country Dance Society , United Kingdom
South Cook County Environmental Action Coalition , United States
Nature Conservancy , United States
East Beverly Association , United States
Phi Beta Kappa , United States
Phi Kappa Phi , United States
Phi Eta Sigma , United States
D. J. Trela married Janet L. Boden on May 25, 1986.