Linda H Peterson
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1948 - 2015
Linda H. Peterson, born on October 11, 1948, died peacefully June 25, 2015, on the campus of Yale University, where she was a professor and former chair in the Department of English. Until days before her death, which ended a multi-year battle against cancer, few friends knew the seriousness of her illness, for she had decided that she wished to focus on the pleasures of her work as an active scholar, finishing her latest book, and as a contributor to university life, which she was, during her 38 years on the faculty. Her books include Victorian Autobiography (1986), Traditions of Victorian Women's Autobiography (1999), and Becoming a Woman of Letters (2009). Her work also enriched the teaching of writing nationwide, through her role as general editor of The Norton Reader in five editions published from 1996 through the current edition and in her role as past president of the National Council of Writing Program Administrators. She will be greatly missed by many colleagues and students; by her mother, Martha Haenlein Boese; by her three younger sisters, Deborah Haenlein Kile, Carla Haenlein Piazza, and Kristy Haenlein Taylor; and by her husband, Fred Strebeigh, her colleague at Yale since 1979. At her request, there will be no funeral. Colleagues are creating a fund, in her honor, to support travel by graduate students to conduct research and attend conferences. A memorial celebrating the publication of her new book, the Cambridge Companion to Victorian Women's Writing, of which she is editor, with contributions from 17 scholars from around the world, will take place near the book's publication in late 2015. (Photo above at left: 2012 on the slopes of Aconcagua, the highest point in the Americas but not in the life of Linda Peterson, whose highest moments came thanks to her splendid friends & students & colleagues.)

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in New York Times from Jun. 25 to Jun. 26, 2015.
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58 entries
June 19, 2019
Linda was a source of light, warmth and generosity who beamed positive energy on everyone with whom she came in contact. I think of her often, and cherish the memories I have of her lovely spirit. It was a privilege to know her.
Shelley Fishkin
May 16, 2016
Thanks to Professor George Landow of Brown University, the full text of Linda's Victorian Autobiography: The Tradition of Self-Interpretation is available via The Victorian Web> (with more books likely to become available when permitted).
Fred Strebeigh
May 5, 2016
Love the fact that this "festschrift" honoring Linda is happening! Wish I could be there for any/all of the above!
Holly Lyman Antolini
May 3, 2016
Linda in Branford College courtyard, 1980s
Saturday noon, May 7, 2016, Yale's Branford College, in honor of Linda Peterson:

We invite you to join us for a brief noontime ceremony before the start of the Conference Celebrating Victorian Women Writers in Honor of Linda Peterson.

At noon we will dedicate a new flowering plant in the main courtyard of Branford College (where Linda lived as a resident fellow for most of her first decade as a faculty member at Yale) to commemorate Linda's many years of service to the university.

Professor Elizabeth Bradley, Head of Branford College
Students of Yale University's Writing Programs
Organizers of the Conference Celebrating Victorian Women Writers in Honor of Linda Peterson
Fred Strebeigh
April 11, 2016
Linda Peterson, Cambridge Companion to Victorian Women's Writing, fall 2015
A Conference Celebrating Victorian Women Writers in Honor of Linda Peterson, May 7-8, 2016

The 18th- and 19th-Century Colloquium of the Yale English Department is delighted to invite you to a conference celebrating Victorian Women Writers in honor of our late colleague, Linda Peterson, on May 7-8, 2016.

A member of the Yale community for 38 years, Linda was an eminent scholar of Victorian prose and an authority on life writing. She served as Chair of the Yale English Department for seven years, played a major role in shaping its undergraduate writing program, and enhanced the scope and tenor of our department. She was an adventurer and life-wonderer, a scholar, teacher, and friend.

The aim of this conference is to celebrate Linda in a context that reflects her wishes, honors her legacy, and lauds the publication of her final book, The Cambridge Companion to Victorian Women's Writing. What we most want to capture, however, is the spirit of that work. In our conference schedule, you'll notice a diverse range of speakers, dedicated to engaging with the poetry, prose and careers of Victorian Women Writers. The conference will conclude with a State-of-the-Field roundtable, designed to grapple with the status of Victorian Studies today. We are particularly proud of the fact that this roundtable features six of Linda's former graduate students (now teachers and scholars in their own right) and is chaired by Linda's former adviser at Brown University, Professor George Landow.

You can register for Victorian Women Writers by contacting either of the 18th- and 19th-Century Colloquium's graduate co-conveners, Margaret Deli or Natalie Prizel. Information about the conference is available at:

Admission: Free but register in advance
Fred Strebeigh
March 31, 2016
I am so sorry to learn of Linda's cancer and her death. I'm sure she faced illness and dying with the same strong intellect, deep passion, and energetic warmth with which she approached life. I first met Linda in the spring of 1988 when, as a first-year student, I took one of the few writing courses Yale offered at the time. She was such an inspirational teacher, and I dived into projects for her class with zeal. I would pour over her comments on my drafts, thrilled with her responses and insights, and appreciative of the careful attention she paid to me (and to all of us in class). In her class I wrote an essay about Calamity Jane, drawing from the copy of Calamity's diary in Beinecke. That essay won the prize for best freshman essay that year and the credit goes to Linda for crafting such creative pedagogy to allow students to pursue their (often idiosyncratic) interests. I remember another student in class wrote a beautiful essay about his parents as children and his grandparents being interred in a Japanese Internment camp in Hawaii--a lovely, yet challenging reflective piece that interleaved a present visit to the now abandoned site with remembrances. When he read an excerpt aloud in class we all choked up. Yet another tribute to Linda's skill as a teacher.

When I think of the many literature classes I took at Yale, I remember the books we read, but not the teaching of them--but in Linda's writing class we read Joan Didion's Democracy and The Return of Martin Guerre. I wish I could transport every young new professor and graduate student I mentor to that classroom so they could see such teaching in action. Linda was simply amazing at facilitating and fostering such dynamic, engaged talk and exploration. We'd all leave class just buzzing with ideas.

Linda had a profound influence on me. I seek to inspire in my students--first those in high school whom I taught for five years, and now those I teach in college--the same passion for ideas and for learning. I want to co-create with them the same dynamic that Linda so skillfully and so genuinely built in her classes. She was a masterful teacher and a great inspiration. I am sorry for her loss.
Heidi McKee
October 7, 2015
I picked up my trusty Yale Alumni Magazine and was deeply saddened to read of Linda's passing. Professor Peterson played a (perhaps the) instrumental role in my decision to try and become a writer. After following the path-of-least-resistance for my first two years at Yale, as a junior I had the good fortune of being placed in her Daily Themes class. Trafficking in no exaggeration, it was a transformative experience. She was such a dynamic teacher, exceedingly likable but full of authority. I still have the reading list she prepared; but she also had this soaring talent for discussing writing. I remember her with fondness but also with such deep gratitude.May her memory be a blessing.
My condolences to her family,
Jon Wertheim
jon wertheim
September 17, 2015
Linda Peterson taught my senior seminar. She kept a glint in her eye and faith in her voice, consistent in the idea that Victorian novels unlock deep emotion and life lessons. She taught me that Scholarship served human goals mainly when it serves human efforts to empathize more clearly with other humans. I regret being out of touch with her since then, and I send my wishes for solace to her family.
Alec Appelbaum
August 18, 2015
I am so deeply sorry for the loss of one of the very best English professors I had during my undergrad. Writing my undergrad thesis with Professor Peterson during her senior seminar in 2010 ranks among the most intellectually fulfilling experiences I had at Yale. Professor Peterson was truly a gem -- a renowned academic, a committed teacher, and, above all else, an exceptionally kind mentor to young people like myself. I will never forget her kindness and her words of encouragement during that formative period.
Kavita Mistry
August 17, 2015
Linda Peterson and I were passionately committed to the same two areas of research and writingautobiography and composition, a rare combination, though it shouldn't have been because these blend so naturally. Our shared feminist perspectives and commitment to clear, incisive, elegant writing have also seemed natural and inevitable; they have pervaded our work and our communication, formal and informal. Linda's calm good cheer and calming good will, coupled with her ability to get the big jobs done (and enlist others' cooperation) without getting bogged down in minutiae made her an excellent president of Writing Program Administrators. Linda's editorship sustained the Norton Reader's canonical status, which in turn was fundamental to my own research on canonical essays.
Of equal, perhaps greater, importance, these values have influenced our choice of life partnersethical, smart, kind men with no tolerance of pretense, jargon, or obfuscation, great traveling companions throughout the world as well as through life. It has been a pleasure and a comfort to know Linda Peterson as a good friend, a source of intellectual stimulation, and a kindred spirit for nearly forty years. Not long enough.
Lynn Z. Bloom, Storrs, CT
August 12, 2015
To my lasting regret, I never met Linda in person, and what little direct communication we had was conducted only by email and only intermittently. But I was the lucky beneficiary of Linda's great kindness, warmth, and professional commitment -- for this I will always be grateful -- and even in our email exchanges, I could sense the immense generosity of spirit, the integrity, and the unwavering vision that she brought to all her working relationships. It was a very one-sided affair, in truth. With a kindness that now strikes me as incredible, Linda wrote letters in support of my promotion and fellowship applications, and at one point she reviewed one of my books, whilst I could do nothing for her. But notwithstanding this one-sidedness, she never wavered in her commitment, generosity, or belief in me. Back in April, just two months before she passed away, as another fellowship deadline loomed, she wrote your project is one I really want to see achieved and I would very much like to write in support of your project. I had only a shadowy notion of what Linda was battling at that time, though she told me of her ups and downs, and I offered her a way out. But she would not be deterred, and she went on to write what must have been the last of many such generous affirmations of support and belief that she had made on behalf of younger scholars in the course of her distinguished career. I count myself incredibly lucky not simply to have been the beneficiary of such a warm-hearted and generous scholar, but also, in a small way, to have counted her among my friends. The light she shone so brightly continues to illuminate my path.

My deep condolences to Fred, her partner, and to Linda's family and colleagues, on a profound loss.
Nicholas Frankel
July 28, 2015
In 2004, when I was invited to teach at Yale and thought it impractically distant from my home in Massachusetts, I was invited to spend a day on campus. My hosts were Linda and Fred. Need I say that by the time I left, they had completely changed my mind? Distance shmistance! If the Yale English Department was led by someone as brilliant, kind, and warm as Linda, how could I possibly say no? During the decade that followed (a decade during which I've thanked my lucky stars every day that I work at Yale), my first impressions were reconfirmed hundreds of times. Knowing I was part of Linda's department always made me feel proud. And the joyful, loving, adventurous, and mutually supportive marriage she shared with Fred was a beautiful thing to behold. I will miss Linda deeply. My condolences to Fred and to Linda's family on a loss too great to measure.
Anne Fadiman
July 23, 2015
Linda Peterson will always be an inspirationto scholars of literature and composition, to women, to everyone who wants to make the world a better place. Even at the pinnacle of traditionally defined academic success as Department Chair of English at Yale, Linda understood the importance and challenge of teaching students to become writers and critical thinkers. She had a graceful, no-nonsense way of affirming praxis and always refused to separate teaching and research. As we remember Linda and celebrate her extraordinary life, I hope that her legacy will motivate a transformation in the profession of English as a whole. Higher education and the world at large need more Linda Petersonsbrilliant scholars, teachers, and administrators who see influencing student insight as of equal importance with literary discovery and who bring joy to both endeavors. From a personal perspective, I will most remember Linda's joyfulness in her work and in her life.
Elaine Maimon
July 22, 2015
I met Linda early in her career at Yale when our mutual interests in student writing brought us together. Her good cheer and fine intelligence won over everyone she met, and when she took the reigns of WPA,the national association of writing program administrators, she brought to it her usual analytic talents and determination. We'll all miss her terribly, and Yale will never be the same. My condolences go to her husband and other family members.
Harvey Wiener
July 20, 2015
My condolences to Linda's devoted family, especially to her mother Martha, her husband Fred, and her sister (and my sister-in-law) Debbi. Her impressive obituary is testament to a gifted woman who lived life to the full and shared her well-honed talents generously, right up to the last editorial tweak of her latest book. She showed such courage in battling her cancer, determined to live at her peak to her final, peaceful surrender. It is easy to see why she will be so missed. Earth's loss is heaven's eternal gain.
Anne Brennan
July 9, 2015
On looking through old papers I came across a long exchange Linda and I had in 1977 by letter - when she was just hired as an assistant professor and I was heading the core English course known as 125. It took me back to the seventies and eighties, to the world of the Yale English department in those days, and to the many events and people Linda and I shared the number is slowly diminishing. My memory is that in an era when deconstruction reigned, and it was hard to keep your poise or confidence amidst a wash of theoretical hoo ha and excitement, Linda was steadfast in knowing who she was as a scholar, where she stood, and what she wanted to contribute. One thing I remember so clearly about her: how hard, how very hard she worked and with what commitment. She was serious, she was no nonsense, she was dedicated, she made no excuses, she had a sure sense of her intellectual path and what was important to her, and she forged ahead. The woman had guts! We were different in so many ways, but what we shared only those here then could ever know or understand and it bound us forever. The essence of Linda for me in visible in her own tribute in a book of homages to her colleague and friend Frank Turner: her full straightforward almost scholarly account of Frank's book on Newman, the forces that tried to diminish it, and the Oxford scholar whose careful sustained analysis lifted it to its proper place before Frank died is a model of generosity, caring, and graceful homage. In her remembrance of another, she showed herself in every particular.
Penelope Laurans
July 7, 2015
I first met Linda and Fred with Cecie Clement in the middle of a downpour at Wineglass Bay on the eastern coast of Tasmania, but all subsequent encounters, equally fun, were a good deal every sense. I shall miss Linda's warmth, common sense, and abundant good humor. Vale.
Angus Trumble
July 6, 2015
Linda was a wonderful colleague, brilliant scholars, and supportive mentor for so many academics throughout the years. Her absence is already felt by many of us. Sincere condolences, Dennis Denisoff
Dennis Denisoff
July 4, 2015
It is rare to discover a professor who excels in all areas as Linda did. She was a superior scholar, a skilled and caring teacher, and a tactful, generous administrator. It is even rarer to find a person so good at her job who also knows how to find balance between that job and other parts of life. For graduate students--like me--Linda modeled a career in which one did not have to sacrifice friendships, adventure, and discovery in order to research and write and teach at the top of one's field. Of course, Linda made it look easy. And it's not. But she remains for me an ideal--a friendly one, always smiling with encouragement.
Siobhan Phillips
July 3, 2015
When I was lucky enough to be in NEH summer programs at Yale in 84 and 88, both Linda and Frank Turner meant so much to me because what they conveyed, though not in words, was something like we're lucky and privileged to be the ones who landed at Yale, though all of you are just as worthy, and we want to share with you as much as we can of this place. In the subsequent years I was amazed by Linda's generosity with her Victorianist colleagues, always grateful to read her lucid prose in articles and books, and very pleased to work with her in the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals. When I was nominated to be Vice President following her stint in that office, it was in part because her illness prevented her from becoming President. It made me very sad to learn this, but I always imagined that she might be back. Her continuing to give very helpful suggestions at Council meetings via Skype right until this past May was typical of her deep engagement with this world. I know RSVP won't be the only organization suffering for her loss too.

For scholars at my university she wrote letters for several of grants and served as an outside evaluator for two tenure and promotion reviews. As the tributes have poured in, it's clear that Linda did like service for Victorianists (and comp & rhet people) all over the world. That was such a free gift of her time, and an inspiration. My condolences to Fred and to all who loved her.
David Latané
July 3, 2015
Cambridge Companion to Victorian Women's Writing, to be published winter 2015
Final revisions for the Cambridge Companion to Victorian Women's Writing--for which Linda is editor and on which she was working as recently as June 12 when page proofs reach her and she supervised sending them to the book's 17 other contributors around the world--have now gone to the fine team at Cambridge University Press. Publication is scheduled for late 2015, and a celebratory event will follow at Yale near the start of the new year.
Fred Strebeigh
July 2, 2015
I was so sad and startled to learn that Linda Peterson had died. It just seems that it cannot be: I imagine her always as I remember her, welcoming students like me to graduate school, lecturing and directing tutors in Daily Themes, smiling graciously and speaking trenchantly in graduate conferences, warning that her fascination with personal writing meant that an open journal in her sight was fair game. I'm grateful to have a final memory of her at a lovely dinner when she was in Columbus for a conference, offering encouragement as usual, asking after everyone in our cohort (we showed up to the first day of practicum in matching outfits, but doubtless she would have remembered us anyway); grateful above all for the chance to know and learn from her.
Molly Farrell
July 1, 2015
Linda was unique among my professors at Yale in that she was such a good teacher that I didn't fully realize it at the time I was taking her class. It's really much later, looking back at the incredible appreciation for and understanding of the things I read in her class, that I can see how carefully and brilliantly she guided us through the works of the authors we read. She didn't tell us what to think; she led us places, and she made it feel like we were learning and discovering all these things on our own.
July 1, 2015
My neighborhood suddenly is so much emptier. I will miss her brilliant smile, which was always an indicator that summer had arrived on Vinalhaven.
Linnell Mather
July 1, 2015
I miss her so much. A friend who was both a scholar and a warm and funny presence in the halls of LC. Her spirit of adventure and her love of natural beauty lightened her path through life and in Fred she found the perfect companion.
July 1, 2015
Reading these messages makes me feel afresh how lucky I was to have Linda as a professor when I was an undergrad. I've always thought of her as among the best teachers I had at Yale; some were brilliant lecturers, and some fascinating talkers, but Linda was something I didn't encounter very often. She guided our Brontë seminar with a light hand, diving deep into the line-by-line nitty-gritty of our papers, and I learned more and thought more rigorously than I had in any other literature class. I was never so proud of an academic paper as the one I wrote for her. And her wit, her openness, her patience I won't forget.
Vivian Yee
June 30, 2015
I loved Lindanot just her warmth and generosity, but her cool head and sheer grit, a determination that was somehow always vital, never grim. For almost a quarter century, in crises large and smallnot to mention when I just wanted to gossipI had only to pick up the phone and dial a number I'd long known by heart. When she chaired the English department, I used to marvel at her even keel in the midst of the usual academic storms (and I marveled even more when I succeeded her!), but while she sometimes confessed that she anguished more than she let on, I realize in retrospect that I was just getting a glimpse of the strength and dignity that have been so impressive to witness in these past years. Even as I now feel at a loss for words at the prospect of doing my dearest friend justice, I can hear her affectionate if slightly exasperated, Ruth, just get on with it! The fact is, though, I miss her more than I can say.
ruth yeazell
June 30, 2015
Linda was the gentle, wise Virgil to my wayward, bumbling Dante, who traversed the rough shores of graduate school with difficulty but came out a researcher and teacher committed to the fields in which she shined so brightly: Victorian poetry, women's writing, and composition. I sometimes hear Linda's voice in my head as I teach. She touched so many she met with her warmth, humor, energy, and genius. Io ti saluto, la mia Linda. I will miss you always.
Michele Martinez
June 30, 2015
Since Linda did not want visitors during her last days, and since my wife Mary and I were out of the country for almost all of the winter and spring, it has been some time since I actually saw Linda. And so in the last few days I have found myself visualizing her and in particular trying to capture in memory her wonderfully telling facial expressions, which always seemed to perfectly match her verbal precision and eloquence. There was the scowl, verging on contained fury, about things she thought stupid or unjust. There was the furled brow in reaction to things that seemed to make no sense. There was the direct gaze into her conversation partner's eyes, often accompanied with just the slightest nod, telling you she really was focusing on you with what she had to say. But most of all I remember the many kinds of smiles that Linda had: sometimes rueful and ironic, but at other times beaming with pleasure in the good and fun things of life, large and small, and accompanied by something much more than a twinkle, more like an intensified gleam, in her eyes. A smile to light up a room; a smile to light up the world.
Ed Kamens
June 29, 2015
Rest in Peace! Liping Chen and I miss you so much!
Lingcha Wei
June 29, 2015
I'm shocked and saddened to hear of Linda's death. She was a fine scholar, and an exceptionally kind and decent mentor and colleague. It was my privilege to be one of her graduate student teaching assistants the first time she taught the Victorian Novel lecture course at Yale -- I can scarcely bring myself to believe that was more than 30 years ago. She was unfailingly generous, then and throughout the subsequent years. This is an awful loss, to those who knew her and to the scholarly community.
Ian Duncan
June 29, 2015
To be frank, I've met Linda only once. But her generous kindness and genuine modesty were impressive. My sincere thanks to her for accepting my wife as her postdoctoral student! My deep condolences to her family members! We all miss you!
Lingcha Wei
June 29, 2015
I was so sorry to hear of Linda's passing. It's hard to imagine the English department without her. Linda was my first contact at Yale, and I couldn't have asked for a warmer welcome to Yale and to a scholarly community. I still remember meeting her during my first visit on campus. Her warm, unpretentious charm immediately put me at ease. I never had a class with Linda, but she always greeted me in the halls of LC like a former student and wanted to know what I was up to. She made the English department an ideal place to study and to work and I--and so many, many others--will deeply miss her generous guidance.
Michael Komorowski
June 29, 2015
Linda and I were Assistant Professors together in the 1970s, in different departments, but we became close as we navigated Yale's challenges. It soon became apparent that Linda's navigational skills were superb--as was everything else about her. I've admired, and also loved, her ever since.
Judith Colton
June 29, 2015
What can I say? Linda was my best friend. She was my confidante, my rudder,my standard of decorum (seldom reached, alas), the most fun person to have lunch with. Her modesty was extraordinary. Until I downloaded her vita I had no idea how much she had contributed to scholarship, of many kinds, all without any of the usual sighs and moans. A taste of the advice she gave me: "Never make a life decision in January." Even when she was gravely ill, and had to cut back on her teaching, she maintained her service to a major Yale committee. And she was literally working, with Fred's help, in her last week in hospital. But she also wanted privacy. I think her attitude to her own vanishing is well expressed by Emily Dickinson: "Because I could not stop for Death-He kindly stopped for me-The Carriage held but just Ourselves-and Immortality." I miss her so much.
annabel patterson
June 28, 2015
Linda was unfailingly kind and generous. She approached life with humor and good sense. She was an inspiration to me as a teacher, a mentor, and a scholar. And she awed me by her courage and perspective as she faced her illness.

I'll never forget an exchange after my Yale oral exams, in which she'd asked me a tough question about what Matthew Arnold had meant in a particularly obscure passage. I did my best, but afterwards I asked her, Linda, what *did* he mean? -- Oh, I don't know!, she said, that's why I asked you!

Like many others, I miss her very much. I am lucky to had had her in my life and am proud to have been her student.
Vanessa Ryan
June 28, 2015
Linda was that great rarity in academia: a superb scholar who was also a caring and warm human being. It is hard to find the words to express how sad her passing leaves me. She juggled teaching, writing and administration so expertly and calmly that she made it all look easy. I admire the way she always kept a space in her life for friendship and for exploring nature. I have trouble remembering what she looked like when she wasn't smilingfor she wore a smile that lit up her faceand the room--nearly all the time. What an amazing couple the two of you were, Fred! Your globetrotting adventures were both inspiring and exhausting. I loved the way you always managed to find a way to be surrounded by glorious natural beauty. Linda moved through life with wisdom and with grace, emitting positive energy that was contagious. It was a pleasure and a privilege to be her friend.
Shelley Fishkin
June 28, 2015
I am one among so very many who are heartbroken to lose Linda. I was fortunate to get to know her through academic conferences and especially through the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals, where she was a steady, highly valued presence. She was a mentor, a source of inspiration, a friend. There was so much I admired about her -- but probably most especially her generous instincts, her feet-on-the-ground approach to life, and her humane acceptance of all. My only regret is that while I knew she was sick, I did not realize how dire it was. I would have liked to be able to tell her how much she meant to me. I hope she knew it instinctively.
Maria Frawley
June 28, 2015
May you suffer no more in the Arms of Our Lord. As little children we played and as my bridesmaid you were so beautiful and now as you leave this world may the lives you have touched remember you as I do, a loving beautiful soul. We were blessed to have known you and as family to have loved you also.
Jacque Keller-Mccormick
June 28, 2015
In academia, besides teaching and research, service to the university and the discipline is the hardest contribution to define and gauge. Service requires organizational skills, friendship and selflessness, and Linda Peterson's lifetime was limitless in this respect.
Alexander Welsh
June 28, 2015
This is devastating news. Frank and I are both so saddened to hear of Linda's death. While we were at Yale (2001-2010) she was an ever-welcoming presence, so sensible and helpful in her views about the University Library, such a kind friend to us both, and tremendous fun to be with. Her scholarly insights and interests (e.g .especially on nineteenth-century literary periodicals) enriched Yale and scholarship far further afield, in many ways. Our deepest sympathy to Fred and to all of Linda's family.
Alice and Frank Prochaska
Alice Prochaska
June 28, 2015
I was so sorry to learn of Linda's loss to cancer. Such a generous scholar, such a beautiful person. She will remain an inspiration to me, as I know she is to so many others. I am grateful to have been able to call her a friend.
Charles LaPorte
June 27, 2015
I was very sad to hear of Linda's passing. I can't claim to have known her well, but she was a wonderful convener of the RSVP conference at Yale back in 2010, and it has been a privilege to work with her as one of the contributors to her forthcoming book. She will be much missed.
Joanne Wilkes
June 27, 2015
I was crazy about Linda, and can hardly bear to think of not hearing her warm, funny, cheering voice again. We conferred constantly during the four years when she was vice-president of the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals, and often before that when she served on the Board. (My Gmail account tells me it contains 778 emails from Linda! I feel like going back and re-reading every one.) If not for her illness, she would have followed me as president, and a finer one RSVP could never have had. As it was, she contributed enormously to the work of that Society over many years, and was a never-failing reservoir of encouragement and good sense, for me as for so many others. As people coping with cancer, she and I talked about that, too, and the way she handled that challenge -- never letting it define her life, keeping her focus on the things that mattered to her -- has been, and remains, a comfort and an inspiration. What a blessing it has been to know her.
Patrick Leary
June 27, 2015
Though I have been privileged to attend the tenure deliberations of all my tenured colleagues, the meeting to discuss Linda Peterson was the only one that provoked from a distinguished colleague the thought that we undervalued her if we proposed only one tenure for her, since she had made herself a world-class scholar both in composition and in Victorian Studies. Yet even these twin peaks hardly represent the heights to which she climbed--in service, in humanity, in friendship, and in grace.
Leslie Brisman
June 27, 2015
I'm so sorry for this great loss. Linda was an amazing mentor to me at Yale. From my first days fumbling through "Major English Poets," to my first days reading Annie Dillard in "Nature Writing," to our many meetings discussing I was working on, Thoreau's journal, Gary Snyder's ideas about home, our favorite places in Patagonia and Alaska... She contributed so much to my life at Yale, as I'm sure she did to many other students. (My last semester, she even took me out for a Thai lunch when she could tell from one email that I was kind of losing it!) (And let me drop in on her "Nature Writing" class the day they were discussing two of my favorite authors, Dillard and Snyder, so I could lose it in front of her whole class!)

I'm so grateful that she played such a big role in my time at Yale. I'll sorely miss Linda. Sending my sympathies and thoughts.
Diana Saverin
June 27, 2015
May peace be with Linda. She was a stalwart, and this is a loss to her family, to country, and to Yale. Linda will be sorely missed on our block of neighbors. Si-hoi & Earl.
Si-hoi Lam
June 27, 2015
Linda Peterson's work--and her collegiality--touched many, many of us in nineteenth-century British studies. She provided a luminous beacon for women scholar-teachers of a life lived well in letters.
Martha Stoddard Holmes
June 27, 2015
Linda in Ghent in 2011
We in Ghent (Belgium) too owe a lot to Linda. She will be remembered as the warm-hearted and generous scholar she was.
Marysa Demoor
June 26, 2015
I am deeply saddened by this news and send my sympathies. Linda lived a life most becoming of a woman of letters, and she will be greatly missed.
Yopie Prins
June 26, 2015
Linda Peterson was a friend of the very best kind: warm, forthright, practical, generous, perceptive, appreciative and fun, equally good company for children and adults, the sophisticated and the less-so. Notwithstanding her literary bona fides, it is on a hike that I will remember her, in the August sunshine on Vinalhaven, her summer home, consuming avocados with crabmeat that she had lovingly prepared on a rock on the Penobscot Bay.
Holly Antolini
June 25, 2015
Linda hiking in Sequoia National Park, November 2011
Fred Strebeigh
June 25, 2015
Linda kayaking on Vinalhaven island, Maine, August 2012
Fred Strebeigh
June 25, 2015
Linda preparing a lecture for Yale graduates on a sailing voyage, January 2013
Fred Strebeigh
June 25, 2015
Linda was a scholar worthy of the name - her combination of rigour, erudition generosity, grace and wit was a lesson in what scholars can and should be. While much missed, so many of us are grateful we encountered her either through her publications or in person - or, best of all, both.
Andrew King
June 25, 2015
Linda was a brilliant and generous scholar. We will benefit from her work for a long time.
Christine Roth
June 25, 2015
We will all miss the scholarly acumen, intellectual generosity and personal warmth of Linda Peterson. Our thoughts are with her family.
Pamela Gilbert
June 25, 2015
My condolences to the family of Ms Peterson. May our caring God support you during this difficult time. 1 Peter 5 : 7
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