- November 30, 2014
of Phillip's Passing
Share This Obituary
Philip J. Finkelpearl, Professor Emeritus of English at Wellesley College, died November 30, 2014 of multiple ailments. He was 89. He had been living in Harvard, MA in the Shaker office building which he and his wife bought in 1956.
Born in Pittsburgh, PA in 1925, he attended Princeton University, interrupting his education to serve in the Navy in World War II. He completed a Ph.D. in English at Harvard University in 1954. During his long academic career, he taught at Brandeis University, Vassar College, the University of Massachusetts Boston, and most recently at Wellesley College. His teaching was legendary. He was awarded the Pinanski Prize for Excellence in Teaching from Wellesley in 1985.
Finkelpearl worked in the field of Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, publishing two books and numerous articles which focus particularly on the historical and social context of the theater. His books, John Marston of the Middle Temple: an Elizabethan dramatist in his social setting (Harvard University Press, 1969) and Court and Country: Politics in the Plays of Beaumont and Fletcher (Princeton University Press, 1990) were seen as "groundbreaking," and "radically revisionist." He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1971 and an NEH Fellowship in 1987.
Original, irreverent, creative, playful and warm, intensely social as well as reclusive, he will be missed by many. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Kitty, his daughter Ellen, his son Tom, and three grandchildren.