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Judd David Hubert
In Memoriam

Judd David Hubert

Professor Emeritus, French and Italian

UC Irvine

Professor Emeritus of French and Italian, Judd David Hubert, passed away Sunday, January 24, 2016, at his home in Newport Beach, California. Judd was 99 years old.

Judd Hubert was a founding faculty member of the School of Humanities as well as of the Department of French and Italian. Before coming to UC Irvine, he taught at Harvard, Illinois, and UCLA. He was an exceptionally distinguished and wide-ranging scholar of French literature, Renaissance studies, and the theatre. Additionally, he published on literature and art, especially surrealism, as well as book art in collaboration with Renée Riese Hubert, his wife and frequent collaborator, who was also a professor of Comparative Literature and French at UC Irvine. Judd Hubert also leaves behind an impressive collection of book art.

Born January 17, 1917 in Toledo, Ohio, he lived in Hollywood for a short time before moving to Belgium with his mother, who was an expatriate. During the Second World War, he served as a Sergeant in the 2135th Army Air Force Base Unit, where he put his linguistic skills to use as a French/English interpreter for French cadets. He received the Good Conduct Medal, the Victory Medal and the American Theater Campaign Ribbon.

A graduate of the French Lycée in Brussels and of Middlebury College, he earned his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1951. His groundbreaking dissertation on the poet, Charles Baudelaire, which skillfully revised French textual explication with the methods of American New Criticism, became his first book: L'Esthétique des Fleurs du mal: Essai sur l'ambiguïté poétique (Genève: Cailler, 1953; 2nd ed.,1972). His subsequent and highly influential Essai d'exégèse racinienne (Paris: Nizet, 1956 - revised ed. 1986) defined his hallmark engagement with the defining plays of French classicism, pursued in subsequent works, Molière and the Comedy of Intellect (Los Angeles & Berkeley: University of California Press, 1962; 2nd ed., Burt Franklin, 1972; 3rd ed., University of California Press, 1974); and Corneille's Performative Metaphors, Charlottesville: EMF Monographs, 1997. Along with his excursion into Elizabethan drama, Metatheater: The Example of Shakespeare (Lincoln: Nebraska University Press, 1991), Judd Hubert's work thus describes a trajectory that moves from the close reading of dramatic works as poetry to an expanded concept of theatricality as a powerful mode of literary interpretation. Judd Hubert also wrote extensively and brilliantly on a stunning variety of literary works from baroque to symbolist poetry, from fables to fairy tales, and from stylistics to translation theory, publishing some 95 scholarly articles in the course of his career. His last book, The Cutting Edge of Reading: Artists Books (Granary Books, 1998) co-authored with Renée Hubert, launched a further expansion of Judd's interpretive concerns to address what he termed "hybrid works situated in the no-man's-land between literature and art."

His numerous honors include a Fulbright grant, a Guggenheim fellowship, and the Camargo Foundation Residence Fellowship. Judd also served as a mentor to countless undergraduate and graduate students in UCI's School of Humanities, even in retirement. He was an outstanding colleague and actively participated in UCI’s intellectual life and public events well into his nineties. He also continued with his various research projects. His most recent publication, on the eccentric French engraver and poet Antoine Monnier appeared just a few weeks ago in Nineteenth Century French Studies, vol. 44, Fall-Winter 2115-2116, pps,. 1111-27. His presence will be sorely missed.

He is survived by his daughter, Candice Hubert.

Georges Van Den Abbeele
Gabriele Schwab
Ellen Burt