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Cyrus Hamlin

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Cyrus Hamlin Obituary
HAMLIN, CYRUS Cyrus Hamlin, Professor Emeritus of German and Comparative Literature at Yale University, died peacefully in New Haven on January 19th, 2011, after several years of declining health. Born in New Haven, he was a graduate of Philips Exeter Academy. A year in Germany as an exchange student at Schule Schloss Salem was an experience he described as changing his life. He graduated B.A. at Harvard in 1958, and Ph.D. at Yale in 1963. His teachers included I.A. Richards, Cleanth Brooks, William Wimsatt, and Ren Wellek. He was Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto from 1970 to 1983. As Chairman of the university's fledgling Graduate Program in Comparative Literature he was responsible for arranging guest lectures by many of the century's greatest literary theorists, including Hans Georg Gadamer, Wolfgang Iser, Hans Robert Jauss, Tzvetan Todorov, and Paul Ricoeur. He co-founded the undergraduate Program in Literary Studies. At Yale, he served as Chair of the Departments of both German and Comparative Literature, and was a devoted teacher in the Directed Studies Program, which he led for several years. He also served as Chair of Theater Studies, and as President of the Elizabethan Club and of the Manuscript Society. A lifelong champion of comparative and interdisciplinary study, he particularly relished team teaching with senior colleagues in Religion, Philosophy, and Music. A particular pleasure was co-teaching Shakespeare at Toronto with Northrop Frye. He was Visiting Professor at Boston University, Oxford, Harvard, the Universities of California (San Diego), Bologna, Jena, Tbingen, and the Free University in Berlin. He was honored to be invited to lecture in Heidelberg on the 800th anniversary of the city. His published work focused on the poetry of Friedrich Hlderlin, on Goethe's Faust, and on the poetics of European Romanticism. He was general editor of the Suhrkamp edition of Goethe in English in 12 volumes and the editor with commentary of the Norton Critical Edition of Goethe's Faust. His essays on the poetics of Romanticism were collected in Hermeneutics of Form, and most recently he co-edited Symbolic Forms and Cultural Studies: Ernst Cassirer's Theory of Culture. A passionate Wagnerian, he also wrote and lectured widely on Wagner's operas. He leaves his wife of 52 years, Rosamond Greeley Hamlin, his children Hannibal and wife Cori Martin, of Columbus, OH, Sarah, of West Hartford, CT, Charles, of New Haven, and two adored grandchildren, Sophie and Cyrus. He also leaves his brother, Dr. Charles Hamlin and wife Linda, of Denver, CO, and his sister Ellen Hamlin Reynolds, of Manchester, NH. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, February 19, at 1:00 pm at Battell Chapel, Yale University. A reception will follow, hosted by Jonathan Edwards College, where he was a devoted fellow for many years. A private committal service will be held next summer in Maine, where he spent many family summers, and which he considered his spiritual home. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Somesville Library, P.O. Box 280, Mount Desert, ME, or the Mt. Desert Nursing Association, P.O. Box 397, 12 Summit Rd., Northeast Harbor, ME, 04662.

Published in New Haven Register on Jan. 23, 2011
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