Fun memories of Allen Mandelbaum


New Member
I've been waiting until the end of the study to share this about the translator of the text that we've been reading, as I didn't want to distract from real discussion of Dante; but as I've been listening through all the sessions (asynchronously by necessity, unfortunately), it has really brought back a lot of vivid memories that had moved to the very back of my mind over the years. I've been grateful for the reminders... and figured I'd share in case anyone may take an interest.

I attended college at a University years ago where Allen Mandelbaum was teaching at that time ... though he retired during my first year in the English Literature major and I sadly never had a chance to take his famed 'Dante' course that many other students gave glowing reviews about. However, I certainly remember him... how could you not?!

Readers: When I tell you he was larger than life, I mean it. On nearly a weekly basis, I could recall seeing him quickly striding (zooming) across the lawns of the University, normally with a cane or walking stick confidently in hand, positioned well out in front of him, pointing and thrusting the end of it ahead as he took each step.... often with some burdened assistant or post-doc student scurrying behind him with a stack of books or papers in hand. He also wore, and I am not exaggerating, cloaks and capes ... and often unique hats (broad brimmed ones, or even medieval berets) ... many times scarlet red in color. The first time I saw this incredible sight of a man striding across campus during my first year in school I was fascinated, and it prompted me to learn who he was, and eventually speak with him and learn a bit more about him. Visually, at times, it was like he had walked right out of 14th or 15th century Italy :) What a remarkable person.