Ralph Cohen to be Honored At JMU


James Madison University will honor Dr. Ralph Cohen, a leading authority on literary theory, Wednesday, Oct. 20, at a reception to recognize his recent gift to the university's libraries.

Cohen has been teaching courses on philosophy and literature at universities around the world since 1946. The accomplished scholar spent 16 years teaching at UCLA, and lectured at universities in China, Australia, Europe and Israel. He joined the faculty at the University of Virginia in 1967, where he founded the influential New Literary History, a journal that was instrumental in changing the world of American literary criticism. 

Cohen is currently serving as Provost's Distinguished Professor in the School of Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication at JMU. He is the first person to carry that title at the university. 

"James Madison University is at the beginning of a huge educational enterprise," Cohen said. "That was a challenge to me, and I wanted to be part of that. It is not only a remarkable environment that has been constructed, but also a series of interesting courses, such as the one that I'm attached to in the School of Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication." 

Cohen began collecting books in high school, and has since amassed an enormous library of books, some of which are extremely rare. He has given more than 5,500 of his books to JMU. 

"The huge number of books which I have given to James Madison University will provide a resource for a great many disciplines, as well as the community," Cohen said. "I want to share the books with the students, the faculty, and the community. James Madison University seems like an excellent place to put them." 

JMU President Linwood H. Rose and Interim Provost Jerry Benson will speak at the recognition program at 4:15 in the courtyard between the Centennial Fountain and the original entrance to Carrier Library.

Published: Monday, October 18, 2010

Last Updated: Wednesday, September 26, 2018

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