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March 5,
2001

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Currents--University of Rochester newspaper

Bernard Schilling dies at 94

Schilling
Schilling

Bernard N. Schilling, the John B. Trevor Professor Emeritus of English and Comparative Literature and an expert on Charles Dickens, died February 9. He was 94 years old.

A former director of graduate studies in English and a former chairman of the Department of Foreign and Comparative Literature, Schilling is credited with working to establish the graduate program in English at the University in the early 1960s.

"He was a dedicated scholar with the very highest standards," said Louis Martz, a friend for 60 years and Sterling Professor Emeritus of English at Yale University. "He had a great influence on people--many young scholars, in particular--because of the very high quality that he required people to measure up to. He inspired all of us to do better."

Schilling joined the Rochester faculty as an associate professor of English in 1947, and he directed graduate studies in English from 1952 to 1962. He was named the John B. Trevor Professor of English and Comparative Literature in 1961.

A significant figure in the field of 18th century studies, Schilling specialized in the work of Dickens and had completed a manuscript on the British author shortly before his death.

In the 1950s and 60s, Schilling was the University orator, playing an important part in annual Commencement ceremonies. He wrote citations for those receiving honorary degrees and other awards.

A native of New Hampton, Iowa, Schilling was educated at Loras College, the University of Chicago, and Yale University, where he received his doctoral degree in 1936.

Schilling wrote literary reviews, essays and articles as well as several books, including Human Dignity and the Great Victorians, Conservative England and the Case Against Voltaire, Dryden and the Conservative Myth, The Comic Spirit, and The Hero as Failure: Balzac and the Rubenpre Cycle. Schilling's manuscript for The Rain of Years: Great Expectations and the World of Dickens will be published later this year by the University of Rochester Press.

Schilling and his wife, Susan Eisenhart Schilling, a former staff member at the University's Memorial Art Gallery, were longtime advocates for the University Libraries. The couple received the Robert F. Metzdorf Prize for contributions and meritorious service to the libraries in 1997.

Schilling is survived by his wife, and a niece, Patricia Caulfield, of New York City.

A memorial service will be held later in the year at Rush Rhees Library to coincide with the publication of Schilling's final work, The Rain of Years.

Gifts in his memory can be directed to the Friends of the University of Rochester Libraries' Bernard Schilling Memorial Fund, 236 Rush Rhees Library, Box 270055, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627-0055.



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