Karl Kroeber, 1926-2009

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We at Bwog wish to express our condolences to the famiy of English professor Karl Kroeber (at right, with sister Ursula Le Guin), who passed away yesterday. Colleague and Bwog favorite prof Jenny Davidson has a remembrance of the American Indian lit scholar over on her blog, with a touching story about his kindness to junior professors.

She also links to another reason why we’re saddened by his death: Professor Kroeber was one of the first profs to sit down with Bwog, a full three years ago. Check it out to learn about his long academic career, living with cancer, and why he hated Disney.



  1. This is so sad!  

    I had a class with Professor Kroeber my freshman year, and he was always so happy to talk to students!! What a wonderful man-- he will be greatly missed.

  2. his sister  

    was Ursula Le Guin?! What a great family.

  3. Terribly sad.

    I took the last class he offered in children's literature at Columbia. He was an amazingly kind and attentive professor. It's a shame more people won't get to study with him.

  4. RIP  

    that is devastating! I was in his last class and loved it! He's such an inspiration and my condolences to his family.

  5. William  

    He was an amazing spirit.

  6. mjm2178  

    my condolences to the kroeber family. prof. k was a wonderful intellectual and a great help to me during my studies.

  7. Religion and Lit Student

    What an amazing person Karl Kroeber was. I'm so lucky to have taken a class with him... condolences to his family... he will be missed and remembered as an inspiration to his students...

  8. JAT

    I took the first children's literature course Professor Kroeber offered at Columbia. He took a chance on a freshman for that seminar; I never forgot his generosity, and I followed him through five others, each of which transformed the way I think about literature, myth, and art. He was the most inspiring professor with whom I have ever studied. All my condolences go to his family and to the Columbia community, who lost a wonderful man yesterday.

  9. Adam

    I'm really proud there's a link to my interview of him. If I know how to write at all, it's mostly because of this man--he gave his students such attention that we couldn't help but realize those parts of ourselves that had lain dormant.

  10. Anna

    He was my thesis advisor. One time I had a neurotic freak-out about something or other in front of him - involving work for another class - and burst into tears, and he was so upset to see me crying that HE teared up. Then he told me that the teacher of the other class could go fuck himself. That, and Dr. Kroeber's cat was named Mr. Underfoot. There was nothing not to love.

  11. abigail

    baruch dayan emet. what a sweet, wonderful human. we were all so lucky to know him. he will be so very missed.

  12. Kroeber

    was guest speaker at the Phi Beta Kappa induction ceremony this year and gave a crazy/wild/provocative/thoughtful/hopeful speech that nobody there will forget

  13. CC 2000

    Professor Kroeber was my teacher twice-over and thesis advisor. I'm going to miss him very, very much.

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