M.H. Abrams memorial set for Sept. 12

August 18, 2015

The Cornell University Department of English will hold a memorial celebration for M.H. Abrams, the Class of 1916 Professor of English Emeritus, in Statler Auditorium, Statler Hall at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12. The celebration is free and open to the public.

Abrams, a towering figure in literary and cultural studies, died at the age of 102 on April 21, 2015.

Cornell President Elizabeth Garrett will welcome friends, colleagues and community members to a celebration of Abrams’ lifetime of contributions to Cornell and to literary studies. Abrams spent his entire career at Cornell and was the beloved teacher of many generations of students and the author of influential works of literary criticism and intellectual history. His most significant publications were “The Mirror and the Lamp,” named one of the most important works of the 20th century, and “Natural Supernaturalism.” In his 100th year, he published a collection of essays, “The Fourth Dimension of the Poem.”

Known to students and teachers across the globe as the editor of the “Norton Anthology of English Literature,” which has led the field of literary studies for more than 50 years, Abrams was also editor of “A Glossary of Literary Terms.” He received the National Humanities Medal from President Obama in July 2014.

Speakers – including Geoffrey Harpham, former director of the National Humanities Center in North Carolina, which Abrams helped to found; Julia Reidhead, editor at W.W. Norton; and Andy Noel, director of Cornell athletics, will discuss Abrams as a teacher, colleague, scholar and supporter of Cornell athletics.

The celebration in the Statler Auditorium will be followed by a reception in the Tradition Room at Schoellkopf Memorial Hall Annex. 

Parking is free in Hoy Garage on Saturdays (first come, first serve), which can be accessed on Hoy Road and is within walking distance of both Statler Auditorium and the Schoellkopf Memorial Hall Annex.

Johnson Museum to Host M.H. Abrams Exhibit

In conjunction with the celebration of the life and work of Abrams on September 12, the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, in collaboration with the Kroch Rare and Manuscripts Library, will host an exhibit of art and literary works acquired by Cornell through Abrams' generosity. These include works by Thomas Rowlandson, Honore Daumier, Gustav Klimt, and Imogen Cunningham, as well as a drawing of William Wordsworth by Benjamin Haydon. Also on display will be items related to Abrams’s own scholarship, including a heavily annotated copy of the dissertation that was the basis for his celebrated book "The Mirror and The Lamp." The exhibit will be on display in the Johnson’s Study Gallery on Floor 2L from September 8-20.

Read more about the life and legacy of M.H. Abrams here.

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