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  • Memorial for Karl Kroeber (1926–2009)
  • A. LaVonne Brown Ruoff

Karl Kroeber, editor emeritus of SAIL, died at age eighty-two on Sunday, November 8, 2009. He passed away at his home in Brooklyn, New York, with his family at his side. Karl had retired in May from his position as Mellon Professor of the Humanities and professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University. He was the son of author Theodora Kracaw Kroeber and anthropologist Alfred L. Kroeber and the brother of science-fiction writer Ursula K. LeGuin and anthropologist Clifton Kroeber.

His major scholarly and teaching interests were English Romanticism, American Indian literatures (especially oral narratives), and children’s literature. Kroeber was a prolific and highly respected scholar of English Romanticism.

Kroeber started SAIL, which during his editorship (1977–87) was published at Columbia University. In 1999 ASAIL honored him at the MLA Convention in Chicago for his contributions to SAIL and American Indian literatures. He also wrote and edited books on these literatures: Artistry in Native American Myths (1998), Native American Storytelling: A Reader of Myths and Legends (2004), Traditional Literatures of the American Indian: Texts and Interpretations (1981; 2nd ed., 1997). In addition, Kroeber coedited Ishi in Three Centuries (2003) with his brother Clifton.

With his passing, we have lost a superb literary scholar, inspiring teacher, and dedicated friend of American Indian literatures.

For an announcement of his death and comments by former Columbia students, see Alexa Davis, “Columbia Mourns Loss of [End Page vii] Karl Kroeber,” Columbia Spectator (Wednesday, November 11, 2009): .

For more information about Kroeber, see the special issue of The Wordsworth Circle (2007) entitled “In Honor of Karl Kroeber” ( ). See also Gene Ruoff, “Romanticism with a Difference: The Recent Criticism of Karl Kroeber,” boundary 2 18.1 (Spring 1991): 226–37, available through JSTOR. The essay reviews Kroeber’s British Romantic Art (1986), Romantic Fantasy and Science Fiction (1988), Romantic Narrative Art (1960), and Romantic Landscape Vision: Constable and Wordsworth (1975). [End Page viii]

A. LaVonne Brown Ruoff
Professor Emerita of English
University of Illinois, Chicago


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