Professor's Bios




Professor John W. Cook has been the "Professor of Religion and the Arts" at the Yale Divinity School for nearly 30 years and has traveled to see these structures around the world.  At present he is developing a chapter for a book on the history of a church building in New York City.  At the same time a study of the architect Louis Kahn, based on some interviews that were published by Dr. Cook in 1970, is being completed. His publications include a number of chapters in the "Grove Dictionary of Art", the book "Conversations with Architects", and others.  He lives in North Branford, Ct. and enjoys an office in the Koerner Center at Yale University.


Professor Frank William Kenneth Firk, B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D. (London) is Professor Emeritus of Physics.  During his 34 years at Yale, he served as Chairman of the Department of Physics, Director of the Electron Accelerator Laboratory and Master of Trumbull College.  His administrative duties included directing the Summer Sciences Program in the mid-1970’s, chairmanship of the Minorities Advisory Council, and member of the Standing Committee on Undergraduate Admissions. He is a nuclear physicist with primary research interests in the field of high-resolution studies of neutron and photon interactions with nuclei.  He published more than 100 articles that include major reviews in six standard works in the field.  In 1983, he was awarded the undergraduate teaching prize in the Sciences.


Professor Michael Holquist received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois in 1963, and his Ph. D. from Yale in 1968. He taught at Yale (where he was Chair of the Comparative Literature Department) for many years, becoming emeritus in 2005.  He is now a Senior Fellow in the Heyman Center at Columbia University.   He also taught at the University of Texas, Austin, and Indiana University, Bloomington.  He has published as author, co-author, or translator seven books and over ninety articles on topics as varied as utopian fiction, Lewis Carroll’s nonsense, detective stories, and several Russian writers.  He is best known for his work on the Russian thinker, Mikhail Bakhtin.   He has lectured in virtually every major research university in the United States and in several abroad, including China, Australia, Russia, Finland, Spain, Israel, etc.  His honors include several endowed lectureships (Christian Gauss, Princeton; Northrop Frye, Toronto, Wei Lun, Chinese University of Hong Kong), etc. For his work in Directed Studies, he won the Byrnes-Sewell Prize, Yale’s highest award for undergraduate teaching. He holds an honorary doctorate from Stockholm University (2001).  He served as President of the Modern language Association of America in 2007.


Professor Traugott Lawler is a specialist in Medieval English literature, and has broad teaching experience across English and European literature.  He studied at Holy Cross, the University of Wisconsin, and Harvard.  He taught at Yale 1966-72, at Northwestern 1972-81, and at Yale again 1981 until his retirement in 2005.  At Yale he taught Chaucer, Old English, History of the English Language, and various seminars in Middle English, and he regularly taught both English 125, Major English Poets, and English 129, European Masterpieces, as well.  Since retiring he has filled in several times in 125 and Old English, taught a freshman seminar in Austen and Dickens, and taught both Dante and English Religious Poetry in the Divinity School.  He is the author of The One and the Many in the Canterbury Tales (1981), one of the editors of the Riverside Chaucer, and editor of various other medieval English and Latin works.  In recent years he has written extensively on Piers Plowman, and is one of five scholars preparing The Penn Commentary on Piers Plowman.  He was master of Ezra Stiles College 1986-95 and 2002-3.  He is an avid golfer and plays every summer in the Cape Cod Senior Softball League.


Professor Annabel Patterson is Sterling Professor Emeritus in English at Yale. She has written many books and articles on 16th and 17th century literature, including Milton’s Words (Oxford), and political history—The Long Parliament of Charles II (Yale)—both of which were written during her fairly recent retirement. In other words, there is still tread on the tire.  She came to Yale in 1994 after teaching at Duke University, the University of Maryland, York University in Canada and the University of Toronto. A native of England, Professor Patterson emigrated to Canada in her early 20s. She earned a B.A. at the University of Toronto, and an M.A. (with distinction) and a Ph.D. at the University of London in 1965.


Professor Alan Trachtenberg, Neil Gray, Jr. Professor Emeritus of English and Professor Emeritus of American Studies at Yale University, is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Society of American Historians.  He received his PhD in American Studies at the University of Minnesota in 1962, taught at the Pennsylvania State University from 1961 to 1968, and has been a member of the Yale faculty since 1969 (retired in 2001). His books include Brooklyn Bridge: Fact and Symbol (1965), The Incorporation of America: Culture and Society in the Gilded Age (1982), Reading American Photographs: Images as History, Mathew Brady to Walker Evans (1989), winner of the Charles C. Eldredge Prize awarded by the National Museum of American Art for "outstanding scholarship in American art," and Shades of Hiawatha (2004), awarded the Frances Parkman Prize by the Society of American Historians. A volume of his essays, Lincoln’s Smile & Other Enigmas, appeared in 2007, along with the 25th Anniversary Edition of The Incorporation of America. Among his honors are fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Mellon Foundation. Winner of the International Center of Photography's Writing Award on 1990, he has also been a fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Science and of the Woodrow Wilson Center, and held the Times Mirror Foundation Distinguished Fellowship in American Studies at the Huntington Library. In 1992-1993 he served as a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar.