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Constantinos A. Patrides
LSA Minutes


Constantinos A. (Dean) Patrides, the G. B. Harrison Professor of English, passed away September 23, 1986, at the age of 56. Born in New York of Greek parents, Patrides grew up in that city and in Greece. During World War II he served in the Greek Underground movement against the German occupation and was awarded the Order of Unknown Heroes by His Holiness the Patriarch of Jerusalem. He was also decorated for his service in the U.S. Army between 1952 and 1954.

Patrides received his B.A. from Kenyon College in 1952 and his D. Phil. from Oxford University in 1957. Successively Instructor, Assistant Professor, and Associate Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1964 he moved to the newly-founded York University in England, where he rose to a chair as Professor of English and Related Literature before joining The University of Michigan faculty in 1978.

One of the greatest scholars of Renaissance literature of his generation, Patrides produced numerous pioneering books and articles which remain standard texts. His special province was the relation of literature to theology during the Renaissance. Among his best-known original studies are Milton and the Christian Tradition (Oxford, 1969), The Grand Design of God: The Literary Form of the Christian View of History (Toronto, 1972), and Premises and Motifs in Renaissance Thought and Literature (Princeton, 1982). Patrides was also a masterful editor of classic English texts, and completed an important edition of John Donne's poetry the year before his death. His many articles ranged from Biblical and Classical times to the twentieth century, with particular attention to Milton and the Renaissance.

In the course of his distinguished career he received many honors. Those included two Guggenheim Fellowships, awards from the National Endowment for Humanities and American Council of Learned Societies, and the Honoured Scholar Award from the Milton Society of America. He served on numerous editorial boards and professional committees, and was a prolific lecturer both nationally and internationally. No less honored at The University of Michigan than externally, Patrides became G.B. Harrison Professor of English in 1981 and received the Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award in 1982. As dedicated to teaching as to scholarship, Patrides was an enormously popular instructor with both undergraduate and graduate students. He was able to distill his vast learning into accessible presentations which both delighted and instructed his devoted following. As was observed at the memorial service, Patrides "was a brilliant scholar, a marvelous colleague, and a wonderful person."

George Bornstein