Peter Gay Wins American Academy of Arts and Letters Award

Peter Gay, Yale University’s Sterling Professor Emeritus of History, was awarded the Gold Medal for History from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Mr. Gay joined the faculty of Yale in 1970, where he taught for over 20 years before retiring. He has written over a dozen books examining the cultural history of France and Germany. In the 1960s he published The Enlightenment: An Interpretation, a two-volume work considered the definitive book on its subject. He is also author of Weimar Culture: The Outsider as Insider 1968 , Freud: A Life for Our Time 1988 ; and most recently, The Naked Heart, the fourth volume in his monumental study, The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud. His list of honors includes the National Book Award for The Rise of Modern Paganism. He has won fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations and the 1991 Amsterdam Prize for History.

Academy member C. Vann Woodward, Sterling Professor Emeritus of History, praised Mr. Gay’s work, saying, “Not only in quality and abundance are his works remarkable, but also in the variety of their subjects, the expanse of the fields they address.”

Born in Berlin, Germany, in 1923, Mr. Gay emigrated to the United States in 1941. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University and studied at the Western New England Institute for Psychoanalysis from 1976-1983.

The Gold Medal for History is awarded once every six years. Past winners include George F. Kennan 1984 , Barbara Tuchman 1978 , and Henry Steele Commager 1972 .

The Gold Medal is the Academy’s highest honor, awarded each year in two categories which rotate among the following disciplines: biography, music, fiction, sculpture, history, architecture, poetry, music, drama and graphic art.

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