I found out yesterday from dear kittynitro that one of my favorite professors at Berkeley had recently died of a heart attack whilst in class. Alan Dundes was one of the foremost scholars of the human condition and the most renowned folklorist in living memory. His dynamism and charm were infinitely motivational and he stimulated the thoughts and reflections of thousands of students during his academic tenure, including my own.

Alan was one of those teachers to which you would repeatedly refer, lending out books and looking for his name in the acknowledgments and bilbliographies of countless texts derivative of his established work. His wisdom and insight stuck with you, whether you found them specious or golden – and many would argue that they loved him most because they found a little of both.


Farewell, Alan.
Berkeley press release here.

That makes three Cal profs of mine who have passed in the five years since I’ve graduated. My most eminent mentor is still living, and I really need to contact him and send my fond regards. We can’t give them back enough.

6 Responses to “”

  1. noire_blanche Says:
    June 8th, 2005 at 2:46 am

    Inspirational mentors like that are precious.
    Coming from you I believe I can imagine the lasting impression this professor made on his students.
    You are a dear- contact your professor, before it slips your mind! I'm sure it will be much appreciated.

  2. FunkyPlaid Says:
    June 9th, 2005 at 9:47 am

    Yes, mentors from all sections of life simply turn us into the same, with any luck and focus.
    I will contact him – and I'll tell him that you said so!

  3. hermiston Says:
    June 10th, 2005 at 12:52 am

    Maybe we can give back something, I imagine that's what they do it for. And of course Alan's left a legacy both through his work and his students. I'm sorry to hear of this.

  4. FunkyPlaid Says:
    June 10th, 2005 at 9:46 am

    Thanks for this sympathy and understanding, which I know are close to your own ideals, as well.
    Do you think that's why they engage with studentship? Is it to perpetuate knowledge and inspire for future ages? Is that why we were doing it, or was it really to be able to touch ancient documents, stay up all night debating principles, and drink loads and actually get paid for it?

  5. hermiston Says:
    June 12th, 2005 at 6:39 am

    both, though i can only imagine the former, as yet. but let's imagine it, to take part in the education of another must be a wonderful thing and to know inquisitive, intelligent minds follow after you, with the same sensibilities must be a comfort and a delight. And besides, while we talk, drink, lick old letters and copy antiquated hands we also sit silly hours before a screen chiselling away at sentences, sculpting passages. Sometimes that isn't exactly fun, but we do it for the finished piece, for them to be held afterwards.
    i miss this chat

  6. FunkyPlaid Says:
    June 19th, 2005 at 3:04 am

    Wise, wise words, and speaking of holding our written letters, I owe you a short but detailed review of your masterpiece of research – coming soon to a theater near you.
    I was overjoyed to receive your e-mail, to which I will be responding very, very soon.

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