Mourning the Passing of Professor Emeritus Donald Stone, Scholar of the Victorian Novel and Art Collector

The Graduate Center and its Ph.D. Program in English celebrate the life and mourn the loss of Professor Donald D. Stone, who died on January 21, 2021. Professor Stone was named professor emeritus of the P.hD. Program in English upon his retirement in 2007. Also a member of the faculty of Queens College, he earned his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and his Ph.D. from Harvard University, where he worked with Jerome Buckley.

Professor Stone’s specialty was the Victorian novel, and he authored several monographs on that subject, notably Novelists in a Changing World: Meredith, James, and the Transformation of the English Novel in the 1880s (Harvard University Press, 1972) and The Romantic Impulse in Victorian Fiction (Harvard University Press, 1980). His last book was Communications with the Future: Matthew Arnold in Dialogue (University of Michigan Press, 1997). He was a founding member and editor of Dickens Studies Annual, in collaboration with other Queens College faculty.

Professor Stone was also famous for his deep knowledge of painting and drawing, assembling his own fine private art collection over the years, and for his deep love of Chinese art and culture. After his retirement, he spent every fall semester teaching at Beijing University, where he taught many students who went on to academic careers in China and in the United States.

An astute, learned man with a bright wit, Professor Stone was a genuine Arnoldian, who evinced his love of culture by pursuing the visual art, food, music, fiction, and poetry that brought joy to his world. A generous mentor, he hosted colleagues for Chinese food meals, and spent hours talking to students and friends about his passionate interests. On learning that there was no museum of Western art in Beijing, Professor Stone spent his summers scouring the galleries and print shops of London and Paris to buy dozens of prints and drawings for a museum which he helped to bring into existence on the Beijing University campus. 

As a sharp interlocutor and a generous soul, Donald Stone distinctly enriched CUNY and we are grateful to have had him in our midst.

Submitted on: FEB 18, 2021

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