Deceased April 23, 2018
Our charismatic classmate Ted, the Lionel Trilling Professor in the Humanities Emeritus at Columbia University, died of heart failure on April 23. He was born in Berlin in 1931 and raised in Westfield, N.J. Ted earned his Ph.D. in English with distinction in 1960 at Stanford, where I had joined him as a graduate student in 1957.
Ted’s promise was immediately recognized when he was appointed to succeed the legendary scholar and teacher Marjorie Nicolson as the university’s specialist in the literature of the English Renaissance, especially Shakespeare and Milton.
Ted and I had the great good fortune to be at Amherst at the moment that the College had a superb English department: Reuben Brower, Caesar Barber, Ted Baird, Armour Craig and the young Ben DeMott. Ted amazed the rest of us with the prowess he showed in mastering the puzzling challenges of Baird’s English 1. That experience evolved to inspire Ted’s course, “Logic and Rhetoric,” which became a crucial part of Columbia’s core curriculum.
In addition to courses in his specialty, Ted was devoted to the other standby of the core curriculum, “Literature Humanities,” a survey of the Western canon that gave him full scope to exercise his wit and erudition in a manner that gripped and moved generations of students.
He was also in great demand as a thesis adviser for graduate students. He received all of the university’s awards for exceptional teaching. His four published books showed his own power as a writer and established his reputation as a critic and scholar.
Ted is survived by his loyal and beloved wife, Christina Lee Moustakis; three children from his first marriage to the late Stanley Craig Tayler; two children from his second marriage to Professor Irene Smith; and five grandchildren, including Emma Buchsbaum ’12.
Tom Blackburn ’54