UPDATE: Yale University’s Krystyna Lipińska Iłłakowicz offers her thoughts on Prof. Gerould’s passing at the culture.pl Web site here.
The Polish Cultural Institute here in New York published this remembrance.
Playbill‘s obituary, written by Robert Simonson and published on 16 February, is available here.
Yesterday brought news of the recent death of Daniel Gerould, Lucille Lortel Distinguished Professor of Theatre and Comparative Literature in the Ph.D. Program in Theatre at the City University of New York Graduate Center. Prof. Gerould also held the posts of Director of Academic Affairs and Director of Publications at the CUNY Graduate Center’s Martin E. Segal Theatre Center.
Prof. Gerould was perhaps singlehandedly responsible for bringing American attention to the great achievements of Central and Eastern European drama and theatre of the twentieth century. With his writing on Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz and other revolutionary dramatists of the region, he revealed the unique incendiary qualities of this work from the center of Europe. He also focused spotlights on American melodrama and the plays of Maurice Maeterlinck. It was, though, in his advocacy for Polish drama that he had the greatest influence, and were it not for his academic rigor and continuing enthusiasm for these plays, American stages would be far poorer.
I knew Prof. Gerould only slightly, and never in the classroom, but what struck me most about him was his consistent and constant good cheer, his encyclopedic knowledge of world theatre (which he carried with delightful ease), his modesty and gentleness, and his always impeccable manners. He was among the last of a disappearing breed of gentlemen scholars, and to spend time in his company was a pure pleasure. Though the American academic study of Central European drama is eternally in debt to him for his unceasing work and enthusiasm, we are all in debt to him for his example.
His Web page at the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center’s site details only a few of his many accomplishments. His most recent book, Quick Change, was published last year and collects several of his essays, including those on erotic French puppetry, the Grand Guignol, Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin, and of course his beloved Central European theatre. I will post links to other obituaries and remembrances as they appear.