Crocker, Lester G(ilbert) 1912-2002

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CROCKER, Lester G(ilbert) 1912-2002

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born April 23, 1912, in New York, NY; died October 12, 2002, in New York, NY. Educator and author. Crocker was a noted scholar of eighteenth-century French literature and Enlightenment philosophy. A graduate of New York University, where he earned his master's degree in 1934, Crocker received his Ph.D. from the University of California in 1936, as well as earning a Certificat de Literature Française from the University of Paris in 1933. Crocker's first academic position was as an assistant professor of Romance languages at Wittenberg University; during the 1940s he also taught languages at Queens College and Sweet Briar College, jobs that were interrupted by a four-year stint as director of production at Eastern Sound Studios in New York City. The 1950s found Crocker teaching at Goucher College in Baltimore; he then moved to Case Western Reserve University, where he taught and was chair of the department of Romance languages from 1960 to 1963, dean of the graduate school from 1963 to 1967, and dean of humanities from 1967 to 1971. The end of his career was spent at the University of Virginia, where he was Kenan Professor of French from 1971 until his retirement as professor emeritus in 1980. Crocker was also chair of the French department and general linguistics at the University of Virginia from 1971 to 1977. As a scholar, he was well known for his insightful interpretations of the writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Denis Diderot, and the Marquis de Sade, and he was the author of such influential books as The Embattled Philosopher: A Biography of Denis Diderot (1954) and the two-volume Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1968 and 1973). On French philosophy in general he had a lasting impact in academia with his books An Age of Crisis: Man and World in Eighteenth-Century French Thought (1959) and Nature and Culture: Ethical Thought in the French Enlightenment (1963). Other books by Crocker include Rousseau's Social Contract: An Interpretive Essay (1968) and Diderot's Chaotic Order: Approach and Synthesis (1974).



Times (London, England), November 19, 2002.