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In Memoriam
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Elaine G. Rosenthal 1924–2014

Posted By Administration, Friday, January 24, 2014
Elaine Greenspahn Rosenthal died 6 January 2014 in San Mateo, California following a series of strokes.

Elaine's passion for Quattrocento Italy stemmed from her travels with her husband, Homer. Following his death, Elaine completed her undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley under the supervision of Gene Brucker. She continued her sociohistorical research of Renaissance Florence with Nicolai Rubinstein at the University of London, earning her Ph.D in 1988. Her dissertation explored lineage bonds in fifteenth-century Florence. The Giovanni, Parenti, and Petrucci became part of her family as she immersed herself in the Florentine archives, the academic community in Florence, and her life in her flat on the Piazza Santa Croce. Her contribution to Renaissance Studies in Honour of Nicolai Rubinstein, " The Position of Women in Renaissance Florence: Neither Autonomy nor Subjugation," is a frequently cited work. Dr. Rosenthal collaborated on making "The Memoirs by Fogligno, Son of Conte, Grandson of Averardo II of the Medici Family of Florence" accessible to other scholars. Other contributions to her field include the sharing of unknown indices in Florentine archives and exploring the relations between Jews and Christians in early modern Florence. She actively participated in RSA conferences and contributed articles to Renaissance Quarterly as well as publications such as the Journal of Interdisciplinary History.

A gracious, generous, and loving friend and mother; Elaine was predeceased by her husband, Homer, and her son, Douglas. She is survived by her daughter Tris Harms (Herb Harms) and their children Haley and Carl, her daughter-in-law Barbara Rosenthal and children Mara and Alice, and her sister Donna Wasser and her children.

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Paul J. Alpers (1932–2013)

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, October 22, 2013

[Please see the page on the UC Berkeley website for the full obituary]

Paul Alpers, a UC Berkeley professor of English for 38 years, died 19 May 2013 at his home in Northampton, Mass. He was the husband of Smith College President Carol Christ, who served as Berkeley’s executive vice chancellor and provost from 1994 to 2000.

Alpers, who had been battling cancer, was the founding director of UC Berkeley’s Townsend Center for the Humanities, a former chair of the English Department, a 1972 winner of the Distinguished Teaching Award, and the Class of 1942 Professor of English Emeritus. He retired from the faculty in 2002, the year his wife began her new post at Smith. At Smith, Alpers was a professor in residence in the Department of English Language and Literature.

Alpers’ first book, The Poetry of the Faerie Queene, introduced a new way of reading English poet Edmund Spenser. In his second book, on Virgil’s Eclogues, he initiated his work on the pastoral genre of literature, art and music. His next book, What is Pastoral? was a foundational work that won both the Christian Gauss Award and the Harry Levin Award. He also was a founding editor of the journal Representations, which was first published by UC Press in 1983.

Alpers was born on Oct.16, 1932, and received his B.A. and Ph.D. in English from Harvard University. During his career, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as well as the American Philosophical Society.

He is survived by his wife, Carol Christ; his sons, Benjamin and Nicholas Alpers; his stepchildren Jonathan and Elizabeth Sklute; four grandchildren; two brothers, David and Edward Alpers; and his former wife, Svetlana Alpers.

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Clare M. Murphy, d. 2013

Posted By Administration, Thursday, July 25, 2013

In Memoriam Clare M. Murphy

The Amici Thomae Mori Society, Moreana’s Editorial Board, and the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissnace Studies wish to honor the memory of Clare M. Murphy, who passed away on June 22, 2013, the feast of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher. She had been a Thomas More scholar for the past thirty years, and a member of the RSA since 1962. She died in hospice in Phoenix, Arizona at age 80 of ovarian cancer after a brief hospitalization.

Clare was born in Cleveland and earned her B. A. and M. A. in English from Case Western Reserve. She took her PhD in English from the University of Pittsburgh in 1964.

Clare was Professor Emerita of English from the University of Rhode Island, Kingston, where she worked from 1964 until 1990, after teaching at Tufts University (1961-64). Taking early retirement, she then joined the Moreanum Center in Angers, France, working with Abbé Germain Marc’hadour and succeeding him as Editor of the journal Moreana from 1992 until 2002. She continued to live in Angers, publishing and conferencing, until 2010.

With Henri Gibaud and Mario A. di Cesare, she was editor of Miscellanea Moreana: Essays for Germain Marc’hadour, 1989 (also published as Moreana 100: Mélanges Marc’hadour). She also was in the midst of editing a collection of new essays on Margaret More Roper, Thomas More’s daughter, by well-known scholars. This collection is in progress and will be completed in Clare’s honor.

Clare M. Murphy was a specialist of Thomas More and early Tudor humanism, Erasmus, John Fisher, and John Colet. She presented papers in many conferences around the world and wrote a number of articles in such journals as The Catholic Historical Review, Sixteenth Century Journal, Moreana, and Autrement Dire (U. of Nancy, France). She was a long-time member and participant in the triennial conference of the International Association of Neo-Latin Studies and published regularly in its proceedings. An indefatigable champion of excellent scholarship in More studies, she co-organized international conferences on Thomas More in Maynooth, Ireland (1998), Fontevrault, France (2001), Santa Fe, Argentina (2004), and Amherst, Massachusetts (2007). She was planning another international conference on More in Victoria, Canada in the near future. She was also the founder of the International Association for Thomas More Scholarship, an official RSA Associate Organization.

In 2010, she joined the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (ACMRS) in Tempe as an Adjunct Scholar and continued organizing sessions for the RSA’s Annual Conferences and writing reviews in the Renaissance Quarterly. She was an active member of ACMRS, attending lectures and other functions, and she served as a session chair for panels at its annual conference. ACMRS is pleased to have supported her scholarly endeavors for the past three-plus years. Clare was also a member of the Arizona State University Newman Center community.

A number of scholars owe her their first participation in international conferences, and she will be missed by her friends among the Thomas More scholars.

Memorials may be mailed, in support of the Margaret Roper volume (donors will be listed in the publication), to the Clare Murphy Memorial Fund, Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (ACMRS), Arizona State University, P. O. Box 874402, Tempe, AZ, 852878-4402 (donation is tax-deductible; check payable to the "ASU Foundation,” which exists to support ASU); or the Amici Thomae Mori Society (see for check, bank transfer, or online payment instructions).

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Philip J. Ford (1949–2013)

Posted By Ingrid De Smet, Tuesday, July 16, 2013

In Memoriam Philip J. Ford (1949-2013)

Prof. Philip J. Ford, FBA died on 8 April 2013, aged just 64. Educated at the University of Cambridge, where he pursued most of his professional career, Philip Ford was an internationally distinguished specialist of sixteenth-century French and Neo-Latin poetry. The Scottish humanist George Buchanan and French poet Pierre de Ronsard constituted particular foci of research; however, Philip Ford also explored the broader correlation between humanism and writing; Renaissance mythography; and the reception of Ancient Latin and Greek literature, particularly Homer.

Philip published five monographs, two critical editions, as well as numerous articles; he was also the editor or co-editor of a staggering fourteen collective volumes, including the ‘Cambridge French Colloquia’ series. His latest book The Judgment of Palaemon. The Contest between Neo-Latin and Vernacular Poetry in Renaissance France (Leiden, 2013) is a particularly apposite witness to his long-standing interest in the interaction between the two competing modes of literary expression in the Renaissance.

Vice-President of the Société Française pour l’étude du Seizième Siècle (2006-2009), and President of the Fédération internationale des Instituts et Société pour l’Étude de la Renaissance (2007-2013), Philip Ford served on the Executive Board of the of the International Association for Neo-Latin Studies for fifteen years (IANLS President, 2006-2009). He tirelessly organised conferences and workshops at Cambridge and elsewhere and coordinated panels at several RSA meetings. Philip Ford is remembered for his dedication, energy and critical poise as a scholar, but also for his fine human qualities, including his love of languages and the genuine interest and encouragement he extended to many a student and early career researcher.

Ingrid De Smet – July 2012

For more and fuller obituaries, see (M. Moriarty); (John O’Brien); obituaries by Ingrid De Smet are in press in Renaissance, Humanisme, Réforme (in French) and the Neulateinisches Jahrbuch (in English).

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Katherine A. Almquist, 1968–2012

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 4, 2013
Dr. Katherine A. Almquist, age 44, of Salisbury, PA, passed away November 30, 2012 at Western Maryland Health System Hospital, Cumberland, MD of natural causes. Dr. Almquist was an Assistant Professor of Foreign Languages and Coordinator of Liberal Studies at Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Maryland. She held a Ph.D. and M.A. from Columbia University and an A.B. from the University of Chicago. Dr. Almquist was a scholar of Renaissance legal history, 19th century historiography, and Michel de Montaigne.

For a complete obituary please see the Naperville Sun, December 7, 2012.

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Marjorie Riley, 1918–2012

Posted By Administration, Friday, February 22, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 22, 2013

Marjorie Riley, a former RSA staff member from 1970 to 1983, passed away on 2 December 2012 in Chico, California.

Marjorie was born on 31 August 1918 to Henry and Lucy Riley in Medford, Oregon and was raised in Dunsmuir, California. During World War II she served in the Navy as Petty Officer 3rd Class in the WAVES. She then attended and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. Marjorie worked for the Marconi – English Electric Co. in New York City and then, starting in 1970, for the Renaissance Society of America when it was at Columbia University. She retired from RSA in 1983 and moved to Chico, California in 1989.

George Labalme remembers: "She was a wonderful person, always in a good humor, always ready with the materials for meetings and the annual one which, in those days, was not as large as it has become in the last decade or two. . . . The RSA Board was really quite small in those days, and we struggled with a rather small membership. . . . Those were the days with Phyllis Gordan, POK, Felix Gilbert, Edward Cranz, Phyllis Pray Bober, Elizabeth Eisenstein, O. B. Hardison, Gene Brucker, Paul Grendler, Gene Rice, and Rensselaer Lee.

Margaret King remembers her as a "lovely and utterly delightful woman, from another era . . . absolutely competent with meetings and sensitive international dealings."

Marjorie was a generous supporter of the RSA Capital Campaign following her retirement.

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Isaías Lerner (d. 2013)

Posted By Administration, Monday, January 14, 2013
Isaías Lerner, Distinguished Professor of Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Languages (HLBLL), passed away on January 8. Isaías graced our lives; he was deeply loved and will be sorely missed by all who had the good fortune to know him. His death will be mourned by scholars throughout the world.

Argentinian by birth and upbringing, Dr. Lerner taught in Buenos Aires until the 1966 military coup drove him into exile. After teaching at Lehman College for seven years, he was appointed to the doctoral faculty in 1978, served as executive officer from 1985 to1993, and transferred full-time to the Graduate Center in 1992. In 1999 he was appointed Distinguished Professor.

Acclaimed internationally for his work on sixteenth and seventeenth century Spanish literature, colonial Latin American literature, and the history of the Spanish language, Dr. Lerner was the author and editor of thirteen books and over a hundred articles and reviews. The two-volume annotated edition of Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (a collaboration with another great scholar, Celina Sabor de Cortazar) is one of the great editions of Cervantes’ master work. His book Arcaísmos léxicos del español de América won the Augusto Malaret Prize from the Royal Spanish Academy.

The brilliance of his wide-ranging scholarship was matched by his dedication to his students. During his thirty-four years of service to the Graduate Center, he chaired thirty dissertations and served as second reader for forty-two.

We extend deep sympathies to his wife, Lía Schwartz, Distinguished Professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature and former executive officer of the HLBLL program, and their daughter Bettina. A tribute at the Graduate Center is being planned for this Spring.  

(Written by William P. Kelly, CUNY Graduate Center, President)

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Gustavo Costa (1930–2012)

Posted By Administration, Monday, January 7, 2013

Gustavo Costa, emeritus colleague in the Department of Italian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, passed away on August 29 of this year, at the age of 82.  Gustavo Costa took his laurea at La Sapienza and a post-doctoral specialization at the Istituto per gli Studi Storici in Naples thereafter.  

Following brief apprenticeships in Rome and Lyon, in 1961 Costa joined the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, in the Department of Italian, where he served until his retirement in 1991 first as instructor, then as assistant, associate, and full professor, with two terms as department chair.  

Gustavo’s scholarly accomplishments were extraordinary, both in quality and in quantity.  Perhaps best known for his work on the literary, intellectual and cultural milieu of Italy in the 17th and 18th centuries (and its relationship to the European Enlightenment more generally—including Locke, Montesquieu, Descartes and many, many others), and above all on Vico, he published as well on Dante, Pontano, Machiavelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Foscolo, Mazzini, and Pirandello, among many others.  His oeuvre includes 3 long monographic essays, 111 articles and review articles, 52 notes, and 332 reviews.  His books number nine, six of which, remarkably, appeared in the years since his retirement.  (See below for bibliographic references.)  

Costa’s vast learning and incisive intellect, his attention both to the great questions and to the crucial details of Italian culture, were, and are, an inspiration to his colleagues and former students, as, indeed, was his extraordinary dedication to our profession, a dedication that continued to shine out until the very hour of his death.  He is survived by his widow, the scholar Natalia Costa-Zalessow, by his daughter Dora, and his grandson Alexander.   

Books by Gustavo Costa

  1. La critica omerica di Thomas Blackwell (1701-1757) (Florence: G.C. Sansoni 1959).
  2. La leggenda dei secoli d’oro nella letteratura italiana (Bari: Laterza, 1972). 
  3. Le antichità germaniche nella cultura italiana da Machiavelli a Vico (Naples: Bibliopolis, 1977).
  4. Il sublime e la magia da Dante a Tasso (Napoli: Edizioni scientifiche italiane, 1994).
  5. Vico e l’Europa: Contro «la boria delle nazioni» (Milan: Guerini, 1996).
  6. Malebranche e Roma: Documenti dell’Archivio della Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede (Florence: L.S. Olschki, 2003).
  7. Thomas Burnet e la censura pontificia (con documenti inediti) (Florence: L.S. Olschki, 2006)
  8. Celestino Galiani e la Sacra Scrittura: Alle radici del pensiero napolitano del Settecento, Pref. by Farizio Lomonaco. (Rome: Aracne, 2011).
  9. Epicureismo e pederastia: Il «Lucrezio» e l’ «Anacreonte» di Alessandro Marchetti secondo il Sant’Uffizio (Florence:L.S. Olschki, 2012).

 [Obituary by Albert R. Ascoli, University of California, Berkeley]


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Patricia Meilman (d. 2012)

Posted By Administration, Friday, November 2, 2012
Patricia Meilman, of New York City and Red Hook, New York, passed away on October 13, 2012 at age 65. She is survived by her husband of 44 years, Roy Meilman; and their children, Jeremy and Derek Meilman; by her daughters-in-law, Nicola Atherstone and Zeynep Kudatgobilik; and by four grandchildren. Pat was a scholar of Venetian Renaissance art, having received a PhD in art history from Columbia University. She spent two years in Florence as a Fulbright grant recipient. Her book Titian and the Altarpiece in Renaissance Venice was published by Cambridge University Press in 2000. She also edited The Cambridge Companion to Titian in 2004. Pat published many articles, spoke often at professional conferences, and was a gifted university teacher.

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Shona Kelly Wray (1963–2012)

Posted By Administration, Thursday, May 31, 2012

Shona Kelly Wray (1963–2012)

Shona Kelly Wray, who died unexpectedly in early May in Florence, Italy, was Associate Professor of History at the University of Missouri–Kansas City, where she taught courses and conducted research in late medieval Italian history. She earned her BA from the University of California at Davis (1986), an MA from the University of Colorado at Boulder (1990), and a PhD from the University of Colorado at Boulder (1999). She was a Fulbright student at the University of Bologna, Italy (1986–87) and Fellow at the American Academy in Rome (2002–03); in 2011–12 she was a Fellow at Harvard University’s Villa I Tatti. Her research examined the social history of late medieval Italy, focusing on social responses to the Black Death, notarial culture and testaments, peace settlements and conflict resolution, women's property issues, and faculty families in Bologna.

Her publications included Communities and Crisis: Bologna during the Black Death (Leiden: Brill, 2009), Across the Religious Divide: Women, Gender, and Law in the Wider Mediterranean (ca. 1300–1800), coedited with Jutta Sperling (New York: Routledge, 2010), and articles in books and journals such as the Journal of Social History, the Journal of Medieval History, the Journal of Medieval Prosopography. She taught courses on the Black Death, gender and family in medieval and early modern Europe, Renaissance and Reformation Europe, and world history.

Shona was a brilliant scholar-teacher, beloved by her colleagues and students. A student of medieval and Renaissance Italy, medieval feminist scholarship, medical history, and more, Shona was one of the brightest lights of her generation. She was in Florence at Villa I Tatti during AY 2011–2012 doing research for what promised to be a groundbreaking social history of the households and family of faculty at the University of Bologna in the fourteenth century.

A native Californian, her peregrinatio academica began early with sojourns in New Zealand and England as a child in the company of her sister Maggi and her parents while they were on sabbatical. Her love of the outdoors was also kindled in those years, and she later reveled in the chance to enjoy the mountains of Colorado during her graduate school years. An accomplished swimmer and a graceful dancer, Shona was able to achieve excellence in both mind and body. She delighted in the company of her husband, economist Randall Wray, and her two teenage children, Shane and Alina. The outpouring of affection from colleagues and friends in the wake of her death focused primarily upon Shona’s laughter, generosity, and kindness, traits evident to everyone who knew her. Her intellectual curiosity encompassed not just Italian history, but a myriad of other topics too, from Colorado mining towns to the creation of fine wine. Testaments from colleagues, family, and friends, as well as a listing of memorial services, conferences, and scholarships planned in Shona’s honor, are available at a website created by Shona’s sister Maggi, at

Submitted by Christopher Carlsmith (30 May 2012)

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