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Rosalie Littell Colie (1924–1972)

Author of Paradoxia Epidemica: The Renaissance Tradition of Paradox

Includes the names: Rosalie Colie, Rosalie L. Colie

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Rosalie Littell Colie (1924-1972), professor of comparative literature and first woman department chairman at Brown, was born in New York City in 1924. She received a bachelor of arts degree from Vassar College in 1944, a master of arts from Columbia in 1946 and a Ph.D. in English and history from Columbia in 1950. She was an instructor at Douglass College in 1948-49, and an assistant and associate professor at Barnard College and Columbia from 1949 to 1961. She was associate professor at Wesleyan College from 1961 to 1963, professor at the University of Iowa from 1963 to 1966, visiting professor at Yale in 1966-67 and visiting research professor at Oxford University in 1967-68. After a year at the University of Toronto she came to Brown in 1969 as professor of English and comparative literature, and was the first to hold the Nancy Duke Lewis Professorship, the first professorship at Brown endowed for women, which had been established in 1967. In January 1972 she received the first appointment of a woman to the chairmanship of an academic department at Brown, the Department of Comparative Literature. This occurred only months before her brilliant academic career was cut short by her untimely death on July 7, 1972, in an accident in which her canoe overturned in the Lieutenant River in Old Lyme, Connecticut. At the time of her appointment at Brown, Professor Juan López-Morillas hailed Dr. Colie as “an eminent teacher-scholar ... widely-known as a brilliant, exciting teacher of undergraduate and graduate students.” Her published works included Some Thankfulness to Constantine: A Study of English Influence upon the Work of Constantine Huygens in 1956, Light and Enlightenment: A Study of the Cambridge Platonists and the Dutch Arminians in 1957, and Paradoxia Epidemica in 1966. Three books were published posthumously, Some Facets of King Lear, In Living Art: A Shakespeare for Comparatists, and Atlantic Wall, and Other Poems.
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