Douglas Kelly (July 17, 1934 – March 21, 2022)

Frederick Douglas Kelly, Jr. “Douglas”

We are saddened to announce the passing of Christine de Pizan scholar Douglas Kelly. He published very influential works on Christine de Pizan very early in the revival of her work. His 1971 article in SubStance was path-breaking for first calling Christine a feminist. Douglas was a member of my dissertation committee at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and I will always remember his kindness as a mentor. He traveled with the caravan of graduate students and professors (medievalists from the French and Italian and English departments) to the International Congress on Medieval Studies held each May at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. We would stop at a restaurant for dinner along the way. I particularly remember him on the dance floor with his wife Sandra and students during the Saturday evening party. Douglas was one of the first people to donate to the Charity Cannon Willard Scholarship (sponsored by this organization). Many have stated that he was a monumental figure in medieval French studies, nationally and internationally. He was a professor who always offered his students warmth and friendship, welcoming them to the world of scholarship.

Julia Nephew, Treasurer and Webmaster

North American Branch of the International Christine de Pizan Society

F. Douglas Kelly Obituary

There will be a Celebration of Life for Douglas at THE UNIVERSITY OF MADISON MEMORIAL UNION in Tripp Commons, 800 Langdon Street, Madison on May 8, 2022, from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

Selection of Titles

Kelly, F. Douglas. “Reflections on the Role of Christine de Pisan as a Feminist Writer.” SubStance, vol. 1, no. 2, 1971, pp. 63–71, Accessed 23 Apr. 2022.

—. Christine de Pizan’s Changing Opinion: A Quest for Certainty in the Midst of Chaos. D.S. Brewer, 2007.

—. Medieval Imagination: Rhetoric and the Poetry of Courtly Love. University of Wisconsin Press, 1978.

Prof. Keith Busby writes:

Douglas Kelly, Julian Harris Professor of Medieval French Emeritus, passed away on the morning of March 21, 2022. He was 87 years old. Douglas Kelly was one of the great medieval scholars of his generation, who transformed the study of several areas of medieval French literature, particularly romance narrative of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Among several books on the topic is the landmark The Art of Medieval French Romance (1992). He also published major studies on later authors such as Christine de Pizan (2007) and Guillaume de Machaut (2014). Underlying all of his work is the notion that vernacular poetics were fully grounded in the Latin arts of poetry. Douglas Kelly taught many students in Madison who have gone on to distinguished careers in North American universities and colleges. He was a great scholar and teacher and the best of men.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s