S. P. Rosenbaum

S. P. Rosenbaum

Fellow: Awarded 1968
Field of Study: English Literature

Competition: US & Canada

University of Toronto

S[tanford]. P[atrick]. Rosenbaum was born on St. Patrick’s Day, 1929, of American parents, Dorothy and Harry Rosenbaum, in Vancouver, British Columbia. He grew up in Denver, Colorado, and attended various schools before graduating with the rank of private from Culver Military Academy in 1947. He took a B.A. with honors in general studies and English literature from the University of Colorado in 1951 and an M.A. from Rutgers University in 1955 before attending Cornell University where – after a year as a Fulbright Scholar at Pembroke College, Oxford – he received his Ph.D. in English Literature in 1960.

His thesis on Henry James’s The Spoils of Poynton lead to his editing of first, James’s The Ambassadors in 1964 (second edition, 1994), and then the Cornell computer concordance of Emily Dickinson’s poems (a latter-day illustration, it was pointed out to him, of Henry Adams’s comparison of the Virgin and the dynamo). Both editions have remained in print for over forty years. While at Cornell he married Naomi Black, daughter of the philosopher Max Black (Guggenheim Fellow, 1950) and his wife Michal. Mr. Rosenbaum and Ms. Black have two children, Susanna Eve and Samuel Leonard.

Mr. Rosenbaum began teaching at Indiana University 1960, then spent two years at Brown University as a Carnegie Foundation Interdisciplinary Fellow in literature and philosophy. In 1965 he returned to Canada to teach at the University of Toronto. In addition to his Guggenheim Fellowship, while at Toronto he received a Connaught Senior Fellowship in 1984 and a Killam Research Fellowship in 1989. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1991 and after a term at Clare Hall, Cambridge, in 1999 he became a Life Member. He took early retirement as an Emeritus Professor to write after more than twenty-five years of teaching responsive students in a congenial department and university. In 1998 Mr. Rosenbaum and his wife moved to Canada’s New Scotland to enjoy their five (now six) grandchildren growing up.

The fellowships he received were awarded on the promise or performance of works having mainly to do with the literary history of the Bloomsbury Group to which his interest in literature and philosophy had led him. The first (and most widely cited) fruit was the editing of The Bloomsbury Group: A Collection of Memoirs, Commentary and Criticism (1975, revised and updated in 1995). Three volumes tracing the literary history of Old Bloomsbury from the 1880s to 1914 appeared as Victorian Bloomsbury (1994), Edwardian Bloomsbury (1994), and Georgian Bloomsbury (2003). A collection of his essays on the literary and intellectual history of Bloomsbury and its context was entitled Aspects of Bloomsbury and appeared in 1998. In the course of his work on Bloomsbury he also discovered and edited the manuscript of Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own (1992). Other published and unpublished memoirs by Virginia Woolf were collected in The Platform of Time: Memoirs of Family and Friends (expanded edition, 2008).

The interest in literary history, Bloomsbury, and memoirs has led with seeming inevitability to the Group’s Memoir Club, which was begun after the First World War and lasted until 1964. Among the surviving memoirs are those written by the Virginia and Leonard Woolf, J. M. Keynes, E. M. Forster, Lytton Strachey, and Clive and Vanessa Bell. A history of the Club, its members, meetings, and memoirs is S. P. Rosenbaum’s current work in progress and procrastination.


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