Rutgers English bid farewell to Professor Derek Attridge this spring, when he finished his tenure as a Distinguished Visiting Professor. Professor Attridge has taught at Rutgers since 1984, and was the Director of the Graduate Program from 1994 to 1998. He has supervised the work of many Ph.D. students, both as a full-time Rutgers professor and since, as a frequent visitor. He is currently a Leverhulme Research Professor at the University of York in the UK, a position he has held since 1998.
Although his Ph.D. thesis at Cambridge University was on poetic meter in Elizabethan verse, his interests since then have ranged broadly through theoretical and philosophical questions about what qualities make language literary, and what responsibilities literary language entails. Along the way, he has published influential essays and books on James Joyce, on the philosopher of ethics Emmanuel Levinas, on the philosopher Jacques Derrida (whose writings he has also edited), and on the Nobel Prize-winning South African author J. M. Coetzee. His last official visit to Rutgers was to present new work at a symposium on Coetzee, held in Professor Attridge’s honor in April.
As a scholar, a mentor, and a warm and friendly colleague, Professor Attridge will be greatly missed by Rutgers English. We wish him all the best.