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Paul Korshin

English Professor and British Literature Scholar

Dr. Paul J. Korshin, a professor of English since 1966, died March 2 at HUP, at the age of 65.

Dr. Korshin was an internationally known scholar of Eighteenth Century British literature, author or editor of many books, including Typologies in England, 1650-1820, published in 1982, and dozens of articles and reviews. He was a founder of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, and was instrumental in the creation of the English Short-Title Catalog, the most comprehensive bibliographic database of works printed before 1800. The ESTC was one of the first major online resources for scholarly research, making possible an entire generation of scholarship on the history of the book. Dr. Korshin also founded The Age of Johnson: A Scholarly Annual, and edited all 15 of its volumes to date, more than 8,000 pages; he was proofreading pages for volume 16 in his hospital room.

He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1987-88, and was a Rockefeller Foundation Scholar-in Residence at Bellagio in 1988.

A generous philanthropist, Dr. Korshin supported many scholarly initiatives financially as well as intellectually, concentrating his philanthropic activity on learned societies and institutions of higher learning, according to his wife, Dr. Joan Pataky-Kosove. At Penn, he served as a member of several University Council committees, including Admissions and Financial Aid, Bookstore, and Community Relations.

Born and raised in New York City, Dr. Korshin graduated from City College and earned his Ph.D. from Harvard. Coming directly to Penn as an assistant professor, he rose through the ranks, becoming an associate professor in 1971 and a full professor in 1980. He served as the director of the department's Penn-in-London program at Kings College in 1993-94.

"A witty and flamboyant lecturer, Dr. Korshin taught the English department's most popular class, on 'Madness and Literature,' packing the campus's largest lecture halls with students eager to hear both his learned commentary and his entertaining asides on current cultural and political events," said Dr. John Richetti, professor of English. Always dressed immaculately in custom-tailored Savile Row suits and bow ties, he stood out sharply from the relaxed sartorial norms on campus. He was known as well for his Cordon-Bleu culinary skills and memorable dinner parties. He once arrived at a brown-bag lunch in the English department offices with a wicker picnic basket containing duck รก l'orange and a half bottle of claret," Dr. Richetti added. "Paul did everything with great style and flair," said Dr. James English, chair of the department and a longtime colleague. "He was an extraordinary, inimitable presence, both a valued member of the Penn community and a kind of institution unto himself."

Dr. Korshin is survived by his wife, Dr. Joan Pataky-Kosove, CW '63, GSAS '76. He is also survived by his two step-children, Andrew A. Kosove and Alexis A. Moran, and his brothers, Dr. Jonathan Korshin and Dr. Oliver M. Korshin.

Doctoral Dissertations Chaired


Roberta S. Klein "Agatha Christie: A Feminist Reassessment"


Jack Lynch "The Revival of Learning: The Age of Elizabeth in the Age of Johnson"


Thomas Edward Kinsella "The Art of Conversation in Eighteenth-Century Society and Literature"


James Cruise "Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained: The Genesis of Fictional Worlds"


Mary V. Yates "The Dancing Socrates: The Aestheticization of Moral Philosophy in Enlightenment England and America"


Hugh Ormsby-Lennon "Words and Worlds: Some Seventeenth Century Speech Communities and Their Verbal Universes"


Mark Levin "Eighteenth Century Literature and Numismatics "


Gerard C. Reedy "Restoration Hermeneutics: How Some Restoration Authors Read and Saw"


John E. Connolly "King Lear in its 18th Century Editions "


Nadine Ollman "The Literary Criticism of William Warburton"


Peter S. Weygant "John Oldham as Poet and Critic"

Courses Taught

fall 2004

ENGL 241.301 18th Century British Literature canceled  

spring 2004

fall 2003

ENGL 293.301 The Literature of London  

spring 2003

ENGL 199.001 English Poetry, 1700-1960  
ENGL 540.401 Swift and his Circle  

fall 2002

ENGL 102.401 Madness & Literature  

spring 2001

fall 2000

ENGL 016.301 Topics in Literature  

spring 2000

ENGL 050.001 Romantic Poets  

fall 1999

ENGL 102.401 Madness and Literature  
ENGL 543.301 18th Century Literature canceled  

spring 1999

ENGL 098.301 Words Into Print  
ENGL 241.301 Topics in 18th Century Lit  

fall 1998

spring 1998

fall 1997

spring 1997

ENGL 098.301 Words in Print  
ENGL 202.303 Major British Poets  
ENGL 202.304 Major British Poets  

fall 1996

ENGL 293.301 London in Literature  

spring 1996

fall 1995

ENGL 041.001 Age of Pope  
ENGL 102.401 Madness & Literature  

fall 1979

spring 1979

fall 1978

spring 1978

ENGL 044.001 Madness and Literature  

fall 1977