DONOGHUE--Denis, an internationally renowned literary critic and professor, died peacefully at home at the age of 92 in Durham, NC, on 6 April 2021. He was the beloved husband of Melissa Malouf, who was at his side when he died. Denis was born in Tullow, Co. Carlow, Ireland, in 1928. He was brought up in Warrenpoint, Co. Down, where his father, a Kerry-born Catholic sergeant in the Royal Ulster Con-stabulary, was stationed. He earned a B.A. in English and Latin from University College Dublin and studied singing at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. He worked briefly in the Irish civil service before embarking on a brilliant academic career in the fields of Irish, English, and American literature. Initially a lecturer at University College Dublin, he held the Chair of English and American Literature there from 1966-1979. He also had a senior lectureship at the University of Cambridge from 1965-1966 and was the first director of the W. B. Yeats Summer School in 1967. In 1979 he was appointed to the Henry James Chair of English and American Letters at New York University, a post which he held until his retirement in 2013. Gifted with a formidable intellect, legendary teaching skills and (at 6'7'') a commanding physical presence, Denis was a literary critic of extraordinary range and lasting influence. A prolific author and reviewer, he published at least thirty books on English, Irish, and American literature and theory as well as countless articles and essays (many in the New York Review of Books). He was a leading authority on W.B. Yeats, T. S. Eliot, and modernists on both sides of the pond. In presenting Denis with the Award for Humanistic Studies, the American Academy of Arts and Letters writes: "From the Irish town of Warrenpoint to the city of New York, your life and work span an ocean and bring together the very best of a shared tradition. Critic, essayist, memoirist, teacher - you capture the music of the English language. You 'hear it,' as Yeats wrote, in the deep heart's core." Denis's prodigious intellectual energy remained undimmed to the very end as he completed a final draft of a book on the late novels of Henry James, which will be made ready to send off to his longtime agent, Georges Borchardt, by Melissa -- intellectual colleague, best friend, HJ aficionado, as well as adored wife. He was first married in 1951 to Frances Rutledge, with whom he had eight children: David, Helen, Hugh, Celia, Mark, Barbara, Stella, and Emma. His partner later in life was Melissa Malouf, a writer of fiction and professor at Duke University, whom he married in 2018. He will be sorely missed by Melissa, his children, eleven grandchildren and two great-grand- children, and all who knew him. A witty and thoughtful conversationalist, Denis was the best of company as well as a generous husband and father. If you would like to leave a condolence message, visit: www.rip.ie
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Published by New York Times on Apr. 9, 2021.