Alvin Kernan

Alvin Kernan, the Avalon Foundation Professor of the Humanities, Emeritus, professor of English, emeritus, and former dean of the Graduate School at Princeton University, died May 17, 2018

1 thought on “Alvin Kernan

  1. Richard A MacKinnon

    I knew Alvin Kernan as a Directed Studies student at Yale around 1958. He was terrifying. My first paper came back in a blizzard of red ink and a grade of 37. By the end of the term, my last paper came back with a 97. I have kept both. I used to dread trekking to his study in a tower at Yale’s Branford College to rehash those papers. In retrospect after reading his “Crossing the Line” I figure he kept his cherished .45 automatic in his desk drawer in reserve for students like me.

    With due respect to his profession of literature, his memoir of WWII service probably touched more people than any of his other books. I knew nothing of this while at Yale–no mention of his adventures as a blue jacket and then as a CPO on flat tops. His Navy Cross ranks just below the Medal of Honor. It took “Crossing the Line” to give voice to thousands of Navy vets from WWII as well as provide us with insight as to young Kernan’s deepest roots.

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