New scholarship honors poet/critic Marie Borroff

An anonymous gift from a grateful member of the Class of 1982 will honor noted writer, critic and poet Marie Borroff, Sterling Professor Emeritus of English. The gift will establish the Marie Borroff Scholarship Fund, which will award financial aid to undergraduates majoring in English.

Professor Borroff was the second woman to receive tenure at Yale College, and for many years she has been a role model for women students and faculty.

Her scholarly interests range from the pre-medieval world to 20th-century poetry. She achieved renown for her verse translations of the Middle English poems, “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” and “Pearl,” as well as her 1962 book “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight: A Stylistic and Metrical Study.” In 1979 she published “Language and the Poet: Verbal Artistry in Frost, Stevenson, and Moore,” a scholarly work hailed for shedding new light on the three poets.

Professor Borroff’s poetry has been published in a number of journals, including The American Scholar, The New Republic and The Yale Review.

A 1943 B.A. from the University of Chicago was followed by a master’s degree in 1946. She taught English at Smith College before coming to Yale to earn her Ph.D. in 1956. After temporary positions at both Smith and Yale, she became a permanent member of Yale’s English Department in 1960 and was tenured in 1962. She was named professor in 1965, the William Lampson Professor in 1971, and Sterling Professor in 1993.

During more than 30 years on the Yale faculty, Professor Borroff held many administrative posts, serving as associate chair of the English Department 1968-69 and 1979-81, director of graduate studies in English 1970-73, and director of the division of the humanities 1985-88.

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