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Week of April 9, 2012

Obituary

Hubert (Hu) English

Hubert (Hu) English, emeritus professor of English, LSA, died suddenly Feb. 8 in a manner wholly in keeping with the civility of his life, family members say, while walking with his wife and their dog in a park.

English was born July 2, 1925, in Gary, Ind. At 18, he entered national service in the army. He fought in the European theater, and was awarded the Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster for wounds received in France and Germany. He was discharged in 1946.

After his discharge he attended Carleton College (Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, 1950) and, with a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, pursued graduate work at Yale (Master of Arts, 1952, and doctorate, 1955). He joined the faculty of U-M in 1954, and dedicated his whole career to the university. He retired and was declared professor emeritus in 1996.

While English’s publications were many, his name is most associated with two: he was one of the founding editors of the “Norton Reader” and “The Norton Anthology of English Literature,” both hugely successful academic enterprises. Through the latter in particular, English’s wide sympathies and learned, elegantly lucid commentary have become part of the college experience for generations of students across the country and abroad, colleagues say.

While focused primarily on the literature of the English renaissance, English’s teaching efforts ranged from Old English to 20th-century language and literature. He was famed for the tact and clarity of his reading of poetry in particular, colleagues say. He was awarded the Class of 1923 Award for excellence in teaching.

His service to the Department of English Language and Literature and to the university more widely is unusually extensive and was characterized by the unswerving honor and collegial courtesy that were his mark, colleagues say. Toward the end of his career he served as the ombudsman for LSA. He served on the Faculty Senate Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty. For nearly half the total years of his career, he was elected by his colleagues to the Executive Committee of his department. He chaired the LSA Curriculum Committee, served for eight years as director of freshman English, and chaired the undergraduate and honors programs of the Department of English. He was the most judicious and considerate of colleagues, and earned respect from all, they say.

He was deeply devoted to his family and earned his extended family’s love, family members say. He is survived by his wife Lineve McKie; three children: Tara, Mark (Eileen) and Joanne (Fritz); two stepchildren: Sten (Michelle) and Maren (Nancy); six grandchildren: Laura, Matthew, Rachel, Zach, Peter, and Andrew; and three great-grandchildren: Siena, Elliot and Arianna.

 

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