In Memoriam

Corbin Carnell

Corbin Carnell earned degrees in English from Wheaton College (B.A.), Columbia University (M.A.), and the University of Florida (Ph.D.). He taught at the University of Florida for four decades, and also taught in China, England, Italy, Japan, and Lithuania. Professor Carnell was an expert on the works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, and served as the University of Florida’s first coordinator of minority affairs.

Professor Carnell’s books include Bright Shadow of Reality: Spiritual Longing in C.S. Lewis (1974) and 5 Reasons to Believe (1992).

Andrew Gordon

Andrew Gordon received his BA from Rutgers in 1965 and his PhD from Berkeley in 1973. He joined the UF faculty since 1975, teaching American Fiction Post-WW II, Jewish-American Fiction, and Science Fiction Literature and Film. He was a Fulbright Lecturer in Spain (1973–75), Portugal (1979), and Yugoslavia (1984–85), a visiting professor of contemporary American Literature in Hungary (1995) and Russia (1997), and an invited lecturer at universities in France, Denmark, Sweden, Austria, and Poland. In the summer of 2001, he taught in the UF program in Rome, and in the spring of 2007 and 2009, in Paris.

Professor Gordon’s publications include An American Dreamer: A Psychoanalytic Study of the Fiction of Norman Mailer (Fairleigh Dickinson/Associated University Presses, 1980); Psychoanalyses/Feminisms , co-edited with Peter Rudnytsky (SUNY Press, 2000); Screen Saviors: Hollywood Fictions of Whiteness, co-authored with UF sociologist Hernan Vera (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003); and Empire of Dreams:  The Science Fiction and Fantasy Films of Steven Spielberg (Rowman and Littlefield, 2008). Professor Gordon’s essays and reviews appeared in journals such as Modern Fiction StudiesLiterature and PsychologySaul Bellow Journal, and Philip Roth Studies. He published on Jewish-American writers (Bellow, Roth, Malamud, Ozick, and Kosinski), other contemporary writers (Barth and Pynchon), and on contemporary American science fiction and SF films.

Professor Gordon’s essay, “Star Wars: A Myth for Our Time” was translated into Swedish. His essay on Cynthia Ozick’s “The Shawl” and his essay with Hernan Vera on film versions of “Mutiny on the Bounty” were translated into French. His article on Richard Brautigan was translated into German.

Gordon directed the Institute for the Psychological Study of the Arts (IPSA) and organized the annual International Conference on Literature and Psychology. He co-edited Studies in Jewish American Literature and served on the Editorial Board of Journal of American Culture.

James  Haskins

James HaskinsJames Haskins, an educator who sought to make up for the dearth of children’s books on black historical figures, ultimately became one of America’s most prolific children’s book authors with more than 150 works of nonfiction to his credit. His books included biographies of Richard Pryor, Scott Joplin, Lionel Hampton, Winnie Mandela, and “Bricktop,” of which he was a co-author with the red-haired Bricktop, the African-American woman who was a Paris nightclub owner in the 1920’s. “The Cotton Club” (1977), His portrait of the legendary Harlem cabaret, was an inspiration for the 1984 Francis Ford Coppola film of the same name.

Housed at UF, the James S. Haskins Collection contains books and manuscripts written by Haskins, as well as books from his personal collection, including many children’s, historical, psychological, and anthropological works used in his research. Haskins’ personal and professional papers include photographs, research materials, notes, and correspondence with civil rights leaders, social figures and well known African Americans in the fields of music, politics and sports.

Mildred Hill-Lubin

Mildred Hill-Lubin was a member of the UF faculty from 1974 to 2004, jointly appointed in the Department of English and in the Center for African Studies. She received her BA in English from Paine College (1961); her MA in English from Western Reserve University (1962); and her PhD in English and African Studies from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (1974).  Professor Hill-Lubin began her teaching career at Paine College in 1962. In addition to teaching the traditional undergraduate and English classes,  she served as the Director of federally supported in-service institutes for elementary and secondary school teachers.

At UF, Hill-Lubin served as Director of the English program for special admit students, and was the first African American and woman Assistant Dean in the Graduate School. She was one of the founders of UF’s Center for Women’s and Gender Studies. Professor Hill-Lubin initiated and taught courses in African and African American literature. Her research involved a comparative study of parallels, commonalities, continuities, and linkages between African American Literature of the United States and Anglophone African Literature from the Continent. Professor Hill-Lubin retired from UF in 2003.

One of the editors of Towards Defining the African Aesthetic (Three Continents Press, 1982), she published articles on folklore in African and African American Literature; the grandmother in these literatures; and on Ama Ata Aidoo, a female writer from Ghana. Professor Hill-Lubin was the first woman and the first African American to head the African Literature Association.

Norman Holland

Norman Holland, the first Marston-Milbauer Eminent Scholar in English, explored how the human mind relates to literature over his long career. In the course of this inquiry, he wrote 16 books and 250 articles in popular and professional magazines, in America and abroad. Professor Holland lectured all over the world, not only in such familiar places as London, Paris, Rome, or Berlin, but in Sapporo, Benares, and even Katmandu. His books have been translated into 14 different languages, including Chinese, Dutch, Farsi, French, German, Italian, Hungarian, Japanese, Korean, Magyar, Polish, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish.

Professor Holland held Guggenheim and A.C.L.S. Fellowships. He remains best known for his books concentrating psychoanalytic and cognitive psychology on literary questions: Psychoanalysis and Shakespeare (1966); The Dynamics of Literary Response (1968); Poems in Persons (1973); 5 Readers Reading (1975); Laughing: A Psychology of Humor  (1982); The I (1985); The Brain of Robert Frost (1988); Holland’s Guide to Psychoanalytic Psychology and Literature-and-Psychology (1990); and The Critical I (1992), an interrogation of contemporary literary theory through what we think we know about the way our minds work. Death in a Delphi Seminar (1995) is a postmodern mystery set in a reader-response seminar. Professor Holland’s book, Know Thyself: Delphi Seminars (with Murray M. Schwartz), developed a widely applicable teaching method based on students’ insights into their own writings and personalities. He published Meeting Movies in 2006.

Professor Holland retired in August 2008. In addition to his research and teaching, he moderated the online discussion group PSYART and edited the online journal PSYART: A Hyperlink Journal for the Psychology of the Arts. In his later combined cognitive science with psychoanalytic psychology to arrive at new models of reading and aesthetic response. Professor Holland was always pushing the envelope, moving into new intellectual and scientific territory: reader response theory, cognitive science, and neuroscience. He retained lifelong a boundless curiosity and restless energy of wonderment  at the world.

David Leverenz

David Leverenz received his AB from Harvard in 1964 and his PhD from Berkeley in 1969. He joined the UF faculty in 1985, after teaching at Rutgers University for sixteen years and chairing the Livingston College English Department from 1975 to 1980.

Professor Leverenz wrote The Language of Puritan Feeling (Rutgers UP, 1980), Manhood and the American Renaissance (Cornell UP, 1989), Paternalism Incorporated: Fables of American Fatherhood, 1865–1940 (Cornell UP, 2003), and Honor Bound: Race and Shame in America (Rutgers UP, 2012). He also co-edited Mindful Pleasures, a collection of essays on Thomas Pynchon (Little, Brown, 1976). He published over twenty-five essays and articles, primarily on 19th century American literature, in such journals as American Literary History, Signs, College English, PMLA, Southwest Review, and Criticism.

Scott Nygren

Dr. Scott Nygren

Scott Nygren was our friend and colleague from 1990 to 2014. When he passed away he was Professor of English as well as the Director of the Center for Film and Media Studies.

He received his BA from the University of California at Berkeley in 1968 and his PhD from SUNY-Buffalo in 1982. He joined the Film and Media Studies Program at UF in 1990 after helping to create the Center for Media Study at the State University of New York at Buffalo, initiating a film education program at the Museum of Modern Art, heading the film program at the University of Toledo, co-founding and directing a Media Arts Center in northwest Ohio, and teaching at Ithaca College. He lived in Japan and in Paris for extended periods of research.

Professor Nygren was the author of Time Frames: Japanese Cinema and the Unfolding of History(University of Minnesota Press, 2007). He published essays on cultural theory and film in books such as To Free the Cinema: Jonas Mekas and the New York UndergroundOtherness and the Media: The Ethnography of the Imagined and the ImagedMelodrama and Asian CinemaKon Ichikawa, and Teaching Film, and in such journals as Wide Angle, the Quarterly Review of Film and Video, the Journal of Film and VideoAfterimageJump CutPost ScriptField of VisionIris, and ARTmargins. He also produced his own video art tapes and installations.

At UF, he introduced seminars on Lyotard, Deleuze, Foucault, and Agamben, on Film History and Historiography, and on Techne, Technique, and Technology. He also taught graduate and undergraduate courses in video production and undergraduate courses in documentary film, avant-garde film, and Asian film, as well as other courses in film history and theory. He designed and taught an experimental undergraduate course called “Post-History and Visual Culture” to consider the representation of networked histories in a postmodern and postcolonial context through visual media.

Professor Nygren was Chair of the Faculty Senate, a member of the Board of Trustees in 2011–12, and a member of the Presidential Search Committee in fall 2012. He was also past Chair of the Senate Policy Council on Research and Scholarship, of the Senate Policy Council on Academic Infrastructure, and of the CLAS International Committee. He taught in Florence, Italy, coordinated UF programs at Aix-en-Provence and the Paris Research Center in France, and taught at Sichuan University in Chengdu, Sichuan, China.

Jim Paxson

Dr. Jim Paxson

James Paxson was our friend and colleague from 1995 to 2011. At the time of his death he was Associate Professor of English.

Jim was born on Long Island, NY, and earned his MA from the University of Toronto and his PhD from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He taught at Iona College in New York before joining the UF faculty. He taught courses in medieval literature and literary theory. He also taught and conducted research in literature and science, serving in addition as organizing co-chair of the 1998 annual conference for the Society for Literature and Science. He was a beloved teacher and mentor, and in 2001, he was named CLAS Teacher of the Year.

Professor Paxson’s main research interests included theory of allegory and narrative, and he published in Studies in IconographyMediaevaliathe minnesota reviewSymplokeCriticismRhetoricaThe Yearbook of Langland StudiesConfigurations, and Studies in the Age of Chaucer. He was the author of The Poetics of Personification (Cambridge, 1994). He also co-edited two collections, Desiring Discourse: The Literature of Love, Ovid Through Chaucer(Susquehanna/AUP, 1998) and The Performance of Middle English Culture: Essays on Chaucer and the Drama in Honor of Martin Stevens (Boydell & Brewer, 1998). In later years his most influential work was in the study of the great 14th-century English poem Piers Plowman.

Professor Paxson was also Associate Editor of the distinguished journal Exemplaria: A Journal of Theory in Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

Dr. John Seelye

John Seelye was Graduate Research Professor of American Literature at UF. Before moving to Gainesville in 1984, he was Distinguished Alumni Service Professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and had also taught at the University of Connecticut and the University of California, Berkeley. Seelye received his BA from Wesleyan in 1953 and his PhD from the Claremont Graduate School in 1961.

Professor Seelye’s published work includes scholarship, criticism, and fiction, among which are Melville: The Ironic Diagram (Northwestern, 1970), The True Adventures of Huckleberry Finn(Northwestern 1970), The Kid (Viking, 1972), Prophetic Waters: The River in Early American Life and Literature (Oxford, 1900), and Beautiful Machine: Rivers and the Republican Plan, 1755–1825(Oxford, 1991).

Professor Seelye received a Guggenheim and two NEH Fellowships for his work on the river in American culture. During 1985–86 he was in residence at the American Antiquarian Society as an NEH Fellow. Seelye was a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Professor and from 1979 to 2006 was the general editor of the Penguin American Library.