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John B. (Jack) Vickery
In Memoriam

John B. (Jack) Vickery

Professor of English, Emeritus

UC Riverside

Dr. John B. (Jack) Vickery, Professor Emeritus of English at the University of California, Riverside, passed away February 7, 2013 at age 88. Dr. Vickery was born to Stanley Vickery and Mona Robinson, in Toronto, Canada on August 20, 1925. A member of the UCR Department of English for most of his career, he also served as UCR’s Associate Executive Vice Chancellor from 1984 to 1988 and as Vice Chancellor of Faculty Relations and Academic Support from 1988 until his retirement in 1993.

After graduating from high school, Dr. Vickery received his Bachelor’s degree in Toronto, his Master’s degree at Colgate and two doctoral degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1951 and, after teaching at the University of Tennessee, Northwestern University, Purdue, and Cal State Los Angeles, joined the UCR English Department as an Associate Professor in 1966. He became a highly productive and influential scholar, known especially for his work on myth and twentieth century literature. His published work before retirement included Robert Graves and the White Goddess (University of Nebraska Press, 1972), The Literary Impact of The Golden Bough (Princeton, 1973), Myths and Texts: Strategies of Incorporation and Displacement (Louisiana University Press, 1983) over fifty book chapters, journal articles, and review essays, and several edited essay collections, including Myth and Literature (1966), The Scapegoat: Ritual and Literature (1971), and – co‐edited with his wife Olga – “Light in August” and the Critical Spectrum (1971). A winner of Guggenheim and ACLS fellowships, Professor Vickery also maintained an impressively active scholarly career after retirement, publishing two important studies of the modern elegy: The Modern Elegiac Temper (Louisiana State University Press, 2006) and The Prose Elegy: An Exploration of Modern American and British Fiction (Louisiana State University Press, 2009). These books compellingly explore how the twentieth‐century prose elegy redefined the traditional elegy, shifting its focus to the diversity of losses in human life and to a skeptical questioning of past sources of elegiac support.

In addition to his service as Vice Chancellor, Professor Vickery also served the university as chair of the English Department and as chair of several important campus committees. He was a passionate and effective advocate for UCR’s writing program and respected by colleagues for combining tough‐mindedness with fairness and integrity. He was praised in student evaluations for his lucid, knowledgeable, and interesting lectures and, in 2001, he generously agreed to return temporarily to teaching to help the department cover a course indispensable to the curriculum. He continued to have an office in the department and was a regular visitor to campus. He could often be seen at the Barn, carrying on spirited intellectual conversations with longtime friends and colleagues.

He is remembered warmly by many colleagues, staff, and students for his important contributions to the English Department and to the broader UCR community. Dr. Vickery is survived by his daughters, Anne E. Floto (William H.) and Elaine C. Shankar (Ashok); his grandchildren, Kimberly K. Ouellette (Andrew) and William J. Floto, Kavi Shankar and Elina Shankar; his great grandchildren, Ryan G. and Ethan J. Ouellette, along with other family, friends and colleagues.

Prepared by Kenichiro Tsukamoto.

Sources: Chancellor’s email and