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In Memoriam: John C. McGalliard (1906-93)


On 24 July 1993 John C. McGalliard passed away. In 1931, still shy of his twenty-fifth birthday, but having received his B.A. and M.A. from the University of North Carolina, his Ph.D. from Harvard, and additional training in Paris under Meillet and Vendryes, he began teaching at the University of Iowa. His time there was interrupted by his service as a Section Head in the Prisoner of War Administration at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, and Camp Carson, Colorado during the Second World War, and by visiting appointments at the University of Virginia (1952-53) and Notre Dame (1965-66). His retirement was marked by a collection of papers in his honor, Anglo-Saxon Poetry: Essays in Appreciation (1975). After teaching for a semester at Virginia, he accepted in 1976 a full-time position at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to help Frederic G. Cassidy edit the Dictionary of American Regional English.

In 1941 he contributed the chapter on language to Literary Scholarship. His judicious review article (1961-62) on Brodeur's Art of Beowulf is enlivened by his efforts to reconcile Brodeur's and Magoun's differences on the composition of the poem by invoking Lord's Singer of Tales. His essay "Beowulf and Bede," which appeared in Life and Thought in the Early Middle Ages (1967), argues that "the portrait of the hero [Beowulf] fits the highest ethical ideal of the age; it could scarcely have been drawn very differently by Bede himself" (120). He also contributed the biography of Cassidy to the collection in his honor, Old English and New.