John Hollander


Honorary Degree (1990)
Doctor of Humane Letters
Location: Bloomington
Presenter: Thomas Ehrlich


John Hollander, the A. Bartlett Giamatti Professor of English at Yale University, is a celebrated poet and scholar. His poetry has received prestigious awards. His work on the relations among literature, music, and the visual arts contributes significantly to our understanding of the formal structures of art as vehicles for philosophical and ethical meaning.

Dr. Hollander received the bachelor's and master's degrees from Columbia University in 1950 and 1952, and the Ph.D. from Indiana University in 1959. He joined the faculty of Yale University in 1959 as instructor in English and rose rapidly to assistant professor and associate professor. In 1966, he became professor of English at Hunter College of the College of the City of New York. In 1977 Dr. Hollander returned to Yale as professor of English and was named the A. Bartlett Giamatti Professor in 1987. Dr. Hollander has made important contributions to the literature of our time, and to the advancement of understanding of the interconnections among the arts. He is widely considered the foremost authority on ideas of music in Western poetry, literary illusion, the relations between the visual and the verbal in poetry, metrics in Western poetry, and the relations between rhetoric and form in English Renaissance poetry.

He has received many of the most distinguished awards for literature and literary scholarship. In 1958 he was selected for the Yale Younger Poets Award. He received the Poetry Chapbook Award in 1962, and the National Institute of Arts and Letters Award the following year. In 1974 he was awarded the Levinson Prize, and received the Mina P. Shaughnessy Award of the Modern Language Association of America in 1982, and the prestigious Bollingen Prize for poetry in 1983. He is a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Dr. Hollander is the author of more than twenty-five volumes of poetry and literary criticism, and several books for children. He has also written numerous works for musical performance, including An Entertainment for Elizabeth, first performed by New York Pro Musica in 1969. In addition, he has edited some dozen anthologies and collections - most notably, with co-editor Frank Kermode, the monumental Oxford Anthology of English Literature.