- David J. DeLaura
David DeLaura died on April 9, 2005 at age 74. He was a giant among the Victorian scholars of his generation. He was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, received a B.A. and an M.A. from Boston College, and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, where, according to a contemporary, "He was a legend of brilliance among his fellow graduate students." David taught for ten years at the University of Texas before he joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania in 1974 and remained there until his retirement in 1999. He was an admired and honored teacher; he served as chairman of the English Department from 1985 to 1990 and as University Ombudsman from 1993-1997.
David's publications were numerous. He was the winner in 1964 of the first annual William Riley Parker Prize of the MLA for his article on "Arnold and Carlyle." He is perhaps best known for his Hebrew and Hellene in Victorian England: Newman, Arnold, and Pater (Univ. of Texas Press, 1969). Although his scholarly emphasis was on the prose, David published articles on Arnold, Clough, the Brownings, and Hopkins in Victorian Poetry. He lectured here at West Virginia University as part of the Victorian Poetry Lecture Series in the 1970s and as recently as 2000 as the keynote speaker at the 75th Anniversary celebration of Newman Hall on the WVU campus. He was on those occasions a delightful guest and a provocative and stimulating intellectual presence. I can simply say that I share the sentiments of a long-time Penn colleague: "All of us who were privileged to know and love him understood that David was among the most generous, compassionate, and loyal persons we have ever encountered."