Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Bob Lucid Memorial

Bob Lucid


Robert F. Lucid, professor emeritus of English at the University of Pennsylvania, died at the age of 76 on Tuesday, December 12, 2006, at his residence on the Penn Campus. Dr. Lucid taught at the university for thirty-two years, from 1964 until his retirement in 1996. He chaired the department from 1980 to 1985 and again in 1990-91. 

A memorial service will be held on Friday April 13th at 5:00PM on the sixth floor of the Van Pelt Library of the University of Pennsylvania, followed by a reception. 

Photos and remembrances of Bob have been collected by his friends at Kelly Writers House:


Dr. Lucid served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War, graduated from the University of Washington in 1954, and received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1958. He taught at Chicago and Wesleyan University before coming to Penn. His publications included an edition of Richard Henry Dana's Journal, and two collections of work by and about novelist Norman Mailer, The Long Patrol and Norman Mailer, the Man and His Work. Dr. Lucid was completing a long-awaited biography of Mailer at the time of his death.

Dr. Lucid received several awards for his teaching, including the Lindback Award, the highest teaching prize at Penn. One of his former students, Carol Morgenstern Kaufman, said that "Bob Lucid was a towering presence. After every one of his brilliant and shapely lectures, students clustered around him, as if unwilling to let go of the almost magical clarity, order and insight Dr. Lucid had given us."

Aside from his service in the English Department, Dr. Lucid was exceptionally active in the leadership of the university. He served as Chair of the Faculty Senate, and was a principal architect of Penn's College House system, which has transformed the undergraduate residential experience. He spent over twenty years living on campus, as Faculty Master of both Hill College House and Gregory House.

Dr. Lucid was also the original proponent of Writers House, which for ten years has brought major literary figures and Penn students together for courses, lectures, and readings. In the opinion of Professor Al Filreis, the Director of Writers House, "no one involved with this unusual project will ever forget Bob's generous vision."

Professor Peter Conn, a colleague of Dr. Lucid's for over thirty years, said that "Bob was a man of great learning and wit, who had for decades been a much-revered teacher of both graduate and undergraduate students, and a mentor to dozens of younger faculty."

Dr. Lucid's wife, Joanne, died in 2002. A son, John, a brother, Philip Lucid, S.J., and a sister, Elizabeth Terhar, survive him. The funeral will be private. In lieu of flowers, contributions to support the "Robert Lucid Prize" can be sent to the Norman Mailer Society, c/o David Light, Treasurer, 75 Jennings Lane, Windham, CT 06280.