Carl Ray Woodring
Carl Ray Woodring Carl Ray Woodring died on the morning of September 12, 2009 in his home at The Summit in Austin, Texas. A professor of English literature at Wisconsin and Columbia, an author, an acclaimed essayist, a distinguished international literary critic, a US Navy veteran, a generous mentor to fellow scholars, and a beloved friend, Carl Woodring lived a truly accomplished life. Carl was born to Jessie and Naomi (Cole) Woodring on August 29, 1919 in Terrell, Texas. His family moved to Houston where Carl attended high school and graduated from Rice University. At Rice, Carl earned his BA and MA degrees and also met his wife to be, Mary Frances "San" Ellis. San and Carl married on December 24, 1942, just hours after Carl received his commission in the US Navy. Carl served with the Navy throughout World War Two, seeing extensive action as second officer on the minesweeper flagship "USS Hopkins" (DMS 13) (his war memoir "Lucky 13" was published 2000 after the ship's 55th reunion). After leaving the Navy, Carl received his PhD from Harvard. He began his academic career at the University of Wisconsin in 1948, and taught there until 1961. In 1961 he joined the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in New York, and served as chairman of the department from 1968-71. He became the George Edward Woodberry Professor of Literature at Columbia in 1976, and retained the chair as professor of literature emeritus when he retired in 1988. During his career at Columbia he served on the Columbia Society of Fellows in the Humanities as Chairman and Co-Chairman. Carl's scholarly awards are numerous, ranging from the Bowdoin prize at Harvard (1947), a Ford Foundation grant for 1955-56 and a Guggenheim Fellowship for 1958-59. In 1986 he received Rice University's Distinguished Alumnus award. Carl wrote numerous articles and books including "Politics in the Poetry of Coleridge" (1961), "Wordsworth" (1965), and "Nature into Art: Cultural Transformations in Nineteenth-Century Britain" (1989), He edited the two volumes of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "Table Talk (for the Bollingen Series "Collected Coleridge: in 1990) and co-edited "The Columbia History of British Poetry" (1995). His 1970 book on William Wordsworth, "Politics in English Romantic Poetry," won the Phi Beta Kappa award. His "Literature: an Endangered Profession" (published Columbia University Press in 1999) won the Texas Writers League Violet Crown Award. Carl's wife, San Woodring, died on March 2, 2003. "We had sixty wonderful years together," Carl said. He is survived by his sister-in-law, Janie Morrison, of Little Rock, Arkansas; Margery Harris, his dear friend and love; and the many lives he touched, those of his friends and students. A memorial service for Professor Woodring will be held at The Summit at Westlake Hills, 1034 Liberty Park Drive, Austin, Texas (date and time pending). His friends wish to thank AseraCare Hospice of Austin. In lieu of flowers, please make gifts to Rice University "in memory of Carl R. Woodring," PO Box 1892, Houston, Texas 77251-1892 or a charitable hospice organization.


Published by Austin American-Statesman on Sep. 16, 2009.
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8 Entries
Carl and San Woodring – Austin and I loved them and our daughters, Annabelle and Christiana, as they grew, loved them as well. Our daughters especially enjoyed watching and discussing moves with Carl, after San had died. Carl, San, Austin, Annabelle, and I all went to Rice and that was an important and strong connection. Carl and San chose Rice University as their beneficiary – they wanted to benefit the University where they met and that they stayed so connected to over the years. I am honored to have been their attorney and also, now, representing Rice Trust Inc. (Rice University’s affiliate which serves as a fiduciary and in this case as Executor of Carl’s Will). Since Carl has no children and no close family members living in the Austin area, my husband, daughter Annabelle who lives in Austin now, and I became the nephew and nieces for the purpose of dismantling Carl’s apartment, turning over to Rice paintings, books, and writings (someone might want to do a biography of Carl some day), with Rice’s permission conveying some personal items to Carl’s immediate next door neighbors (his late life love, Margery, did not want anything other than a coffee cup with Carl’s name on it), and having Next to New (an Episcopal re-sale ministry that Carl used when he first moved from his condo to the apartment) pick up the rest. I did a walk-through of the apartment yesterday with the landlord and said my final good byes to Carl. We loved you San and Carl. You were wonderful and we loved knowing you.
Kathleen Ford Bay
October 13, 2009
My mother, Wanda Woodring, spoke of her cousin Carl on several occasions. Carl attended our family reunions on more than one occasion. The Woodrings are an accomplished group. I am proud to say I am related. May Carl's family and friends be comforted to know my thoughts are with you in your loss.
Sara Mullins
September 19, 2009
Carl was a wonderful godfather to me, from baptism to adulthood, always remembering me at Christmas and on my birthday. He taught me to love the intellect and nature. I am glad for the days I spent with him in July and for the stories he told me. I loved him dearly andknow that he has enriched my life greatly.
Victoria Buckley
September 18, 2009
Carl Woodring was a great teacher, a magnificent scholar, and a treasured friend.
Morton Paley
September 18, 2009
Carl Woodring was my dearly loved cousin, our mothers being sisters. We shared our appreciation for Rice University, where we were both students. Through visits and letters, we maintained a fond relationship as he gained distinction as a man of letters. For me, the loss is deeply personal.
Marion Lindell
September 17, 2009
Carl Woodring was the best of teachers, colleagues, and collaborators. He was a remarkable man and a wonderful role model. Along with so many others whose lives he touched, I’ll miss him--and not expect to meet his like again.
James Shapiro
September 17, 2009
Carl Woodring was a fine colleague, an admirable human being, and a great scholar of the Romantic era in English literature. Along with David Erdman, he pioneered the political study of the Romantic poets at a time when it was virtually unknown, He had a wry critical style full of sharp local details and inobtrusively sound judgment. His work will endure.
Morris Dickstein
September 17, 2009
Carl Woodring was a giant among teacher-scholars of English literature of the Romantic and Victorian periods. Hundreds of his colleagues, students, and friends will miss him, but we shall be supported by his example and inspired by his career as long as we live.
Donald H. Reiman
September 16, 2009
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