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Neal Oxenhandler

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Oxenhandler, Neal
Feb. 3, 1926 - Sept. 7, 2011

Neal Oxenhandler, 85, of Sarasota, formerly of Hanover, NH died Sept. 7, 2011.
A Latin Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Martha's Church, Sarasota.
Survivors include wife, Judy; daughters, Noelle and Alicia, and one son, Daniel.
Neal Oxenhandler was born in 1926 in St. Louis, Mo. In 1944, he enlisted in the Army. He won the Combat Infantry badge for his service in Germany with the 97th Division. When the war in Europe ended, the 97th was among the first American units to be sent as Occupation troops to Japan.
After service in Japan, he attended the University of Chicago, receiving his A.B. in 1948. He spent the rest of 1948 and '49 studying at the Sorbonne under the G.I. Bill. On his return to the U.S., he took his Master's degree in 1951 at Columbia University where he specialized in French Studies. He transferred to Yale University in 1952, receiving the PhD degree in 1955. 1953-54 was spent in Italy where he studied at the University of Florence on a Fulbright fellowship.
Neal was married to Jean Romano in 1950 and they had three children: Noelle (b. 1952), Daniel (b. 1959) and Alicia (b. 1969). Neal and Jean were divorced in 1976 and he subsequently married Judith Josel Menza.
Though born a Jew, Neal became a Roman Catholic in 1952 and practiced the faith with increasing dedication throughout his life.
Neal was a professor of French Cultural Studies at Yale, UCLA, University of California Santa Cruz, and finally at Dartmouth College where he taught French and Comparative Literature for 25 years, serving as the Edward Tuck Professor of French and Chair of the French and Italian Department.
After an early novel, A Change of Gods, his publications were primarily in the field of French Studies. He wrote the first study in English of the theater of Jean Cocteau, a monograph on Max Jacob, a pyschoanalytically-oriented study of Arthur Rimbaud, and his most successful and appreciated work, the memoir Looking for Heroes in Postwar France: Albert Camus, Max Jacob and Simone Weil.
Neal is survived by his wife, Judy, his three children, and three grandchildren.


Published in Herald Tribune from Sept. 9 to Sept. 10, 2011
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