John Cabot University Mourns Loss of Beloved Professor Emeritus of English Allan Christensen

It is with deep sadness that John Cabot University announces the passing of beloved Professor Emeritus of English Literature, Allan Christensen.

Born in New York in 1940, Professor Christensen lived his early years in the city and went on to earn an A.B. at Harvard College in 1962 with a major in the history and literature of nineteenth-century England, France, and Germany. He later won a Fulbright grant to study Norwegian literature at the University of Oslo. In 1968 he completed his Ph.D. at Princeton University, where he took courses in both English and French literature and wrote a dissertation on Thomas Carlyle.

Professor Allan Christensen

Professor Allan Christensen

His first teaching appointment was in the English Department of the University of California, Los Angeles. In 1973 during the crisis of the Vietnam war, he emigrated to Italy where he lived for the rest of his life. He joined the faculty of John Cabot University in 1981 and was instrumental in the creation of the English Literature major at JCU. He served for many years as chairman of the English Department. At his retirement at the end of 2005, he was granted the title of Professor Emeritus.

A world-renowned scholar of Victorian literature, Christensen published books on Edward Bulwer Lytton, Giovanni Ruffini, and John Keats, while his most important book is Nineteenth-Century Narratives of Contagion, published by Routledge in 2005. In 2018, he published a collection of interdisciplinary essays, Darwinian Nature and Artistic Texts: Essays on Making/Unmaking (Solfanelli).

In addition to his books and numerous articles, he participated in many academic conferences throughout Europe and was editorial advisor for several academic journals. He also helped to organize important international conferences, sponsored by the JCU English department in collaboration with English departments of various Italian universities, for the bicentenaries of Shelley in 1992 and of Keats in 1995.

“Allan Christensen was a cherished friend and colleague and for many years he was one of our most prestigious faculty members. Even after his retirement, Allan remained deeply engaged in the life of our university, never missing a faculty or departmental meeting, and continuing to play a leading role on the JCU Press Editorial Board. On behalf of the entire John Cabot University community, I offer heartfelt condolences to Professor Christensen’s long-time partner Philip Rand, and to his family,” said JCU President Franco Pavoncello.

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