In Memoriam: Ralph Cohen

February 28, 2016

The English Department remembers longtime professor Ralph Cohen (b. February 23, 1917, d. February 22, 2016), an eminent educator, editor, and literary critic. Cohen joined the UVA faculty in 1967 and retired 42 years later as the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor Emeritus of English; he founded New Literary History, the award-winning journal of theory and interpretation, in 1969 and edited it for 40 years. Cohen specialized in eighteenth-century British literature and philosophy, though his crtical work ranged far beyond these fields; he developed an original theory of genre that connected literary theory with analysis of historical change across the disciplines. Current New Literary History editor and William R. Kenan Jr. Professor Rita Felski has said that Cohen "transformed the field of literary studies, thanks to New Literary History, whose extraordinary impact resonated around the globe."

Ralph Cohen