Department of Romance Languages records
- Foucault, Michel, 1926-1984 (Person)
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
All collections are closed except to office of origin or original owner until processed. University records are closed for 25 years from the point of creation. These files contain student records, which are further subject to FERPA restrictions.
Conditions Governing Use
4.32 Cubic Feet (3 record center cartons, 1 letter size document box, 1 letter half-size document box)
Biographical / Historical
By 1884 Elliott had established a seminary which would train many prominent romance scholars for American universities. He was also responsible for founding the Modern Language Association of America and its review, Modern Language Notes, which still plays an important part in literary criticism.
Elliott was succeeded in the department by Edward Cooke Armstrong, an 1897 Hopkins Ph.D. in French. Armstrong taught at Hopkins from 1897 to 1917, and chaired the department from 1910 until 1917, when he assumed a professorship at Princeton. Under Armstrong's direction the Romance Journal Club was founded, composed of a group of faculty and students who met weekly and reviewed foreign scientific literature. Armstrong's departure led to a period of disorganization in the department, as other faculty members also left for other institutions. In 1919, Henry Carrington Lancaster, who received his Ph.D. from Hopkins in French in 1907, was named Professor and began to rebuild the department and reinforce the traditional seminary style of education. Although courses were offered in Italian and Spanish, French remained the primary emphasis of the department.
Another period of decline occurred after the Second World War, as a number of notable scholars left Hopkins, including Charles Singleton and George Poulet. Poulet had served as chairman from 1952 to 1954, succeeding Lancaster; when Poulet departed Nathan Edelman was appointed chairman, and once more the rebuilding process began. In 1957 Singleton returned to the department after spending ten years at Harvard. Singleton's presence was to dominate the Romance Languages Department for almost three decades, despite the fact that his primary appointment was in the Humanities Center, which he had founded. Singleton was known as one of the foremost scholars on Dante, Petrarch and Boccaccio, and his scholarship received numerous awards, including the Order of Commendation, the highest honor the Italian government can bestow on a non-Italian.
Singleton was also instrumental in developing the Spellman Villa, in Florence, Italy, as a study facility for Hopkins faculty and graduate students. The building is used as a retreat for Hopkins scholars doing research in Italy. Singleton remained involved in the affairs of the Romance Languages Department until his death in 1985.
During the 1960s and 1970s the department was headed by several chairmen: Rene Girard (ca. 1960-1968), Elias Rivers (1968-1974), Lionel Gossman (1974- 1976), Paul Olson (1976-1981) and Gerard Defaux (1981-1984). In 1984 the Department of Romance Languages was divided into two separate departments, the Department of French (chaired by Defaux), and the Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies, under the direction of Harry Sieber.
Scope and Contents
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- Boas, George, 1891-1980
- Edelstein, Ludwig, 1902-1965
- Elliott, A. Marshall, 1844-1910
- Johns Hopkins University. Department of Romance Languages and Literatures
- Keidel, George C. (George Charles), 1868-1942
- Lovejoy, Arthur O. (Arthur Oncken), 1873-1962
- Student records
- letters (correspondence)
- Foucault, Michel, 1926-1984 (Person)
- Derrida, Jacques, 1930-2004 (Person)
- School of Arts and Sciences. Department of German and Romance Languages and Literature (Organization)
- Girard, René, 1923-2015 (Person)
- Johns Hopkins University. Department of Romance Languages and Literatures (Organization)
Part of the Special Collections Repository
The Sheridan Libraries
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