Kelly, H.A. 1934- (Henry Ansgar Kelly)

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Kelly, H.A. 1934- (Henry Ansgar Kelly)

PERSONAL:

Born June 6, 1934, in Fort Dodge, IA; son of Harry Francis and Inez Ingeborg (Anderson) Kelly; married Marea Tancred, June 18, 1968; children: Sarah Marea, Dominic Tancred. Education: Attended Creighton University, 1952-53; St. Louis University, A.B., 1959, A.M. and Ph.L., 1961; Harvard University, Ph.D., 1965; postgraduate study at Boston College, 1964-66, and American Academy in Rome, 1966-67. Politics: "Independent, out of Democratic." Religion: Roman Catholic.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Pacific Palisades, CA. Office—University of California, Los Angeles, Department of English, 405 Hilgard St., Los Angeles, CA 90095. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Society of Jesus (Jesuits), Wisconsin Province, scholastic seminarian, 1953-66; Harvard University, Society of Fellows, Cambridge, MA, junior fellow, 1964-67; University of California, Los Angeles, assistant professor, 1967-69, associate professor, 1969-72, professor of English and Medieval-Renaissance studies, 1972-86, distinguished professor, 1986-2004, director, Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 1998-2003, emeritus distinguished professor, 2004—. Editor of Viator, 2003—.

MEMBER:

Medieval Academy of America (fellow), Medieval Association of the Pacific (president, 1988-90).

AWARDS, HONORS:

Guggenheim fellow, 1971-72; National Endowment for the Humanities fellow, 1980-81, 1996-97; Del Amo Endowment fellow, 1986; Medieval Academy of America fellow, 1986—, UC President's Research Fellowship in the Humanities, 1996-97; volume Chaucer and the Challenges of Medievalism: Studies in Honor of H.A. Kelly published in his honor, 2003.

WRITINGS:

The Devil, Demonology, and Witchcraft, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1968, revised edition, 1974 (published in England as Towards the Death of Satan, Geoffrey Chapman, 1968).

Divine Providence in the England of Shakespeare's Histories, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1970.

Love and Marriage in the Age of Chaucer, Cornell University Press (Ithaca, NY), 1975.

The Matrimonial Trials of Henry VIII, Stanford University Press (Stanford, CA), 1976.

Canon Law and the Archpriest of Hita, Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies (Binghamton, NY), 1984.

The Devil at Baptism: Ritual, Theology, and Drama, Cornell University Press, 1985.

Chaucer and the Cult of Saint Valentine, E.J. Brill (Long Island City, NY), 1986.

Tragedy and Comedy from Dante to Pseudo-Dante, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 1989.

Ideas and Forms of Tragedy from Aristotle to the Middle Ages, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1993.

Chaucerian Tragedy, Boydell and Brewer, 1997.

Inquisitions and Other Trial Procedures in the Medieval West, Ashgate/Variorum (Burlington, VT), 2001.

Satan: A Biography, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to professional journals, including Church History, Journal of Religion, Modern Philology, and Ricardian. Coeditor, Viator: Medieval and Renaissance Studies (annual of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, University of California, Los Angeles), 1970-90.

SIDELIGHTS:

H.A. Kelly, born Henry Asgar Kelly, is an emeritus distinguished professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and is a specialist in the medieval period. His three books on medieval tragedy include Tragedy and Comedy from Dante to Pseudo-Dante, Ideas and Forms of Tragedy from Aristotle to the Middle Ages, and Chaucerian Tragedy. Christian Kiening, writing in Medium Aevum, observed of the Ideas and Forms of Tragedy from Aristotle to the Middle Ages that Kelly "draws upon an enormous range of materials … [and] offers a new insight into the variety of meanings that authors throughout the Middle Ages attributed to the word tragoedia as ‘a literary or dramatic term.’" As the critic went on to note, "Kelly traces complex textual traditions with great accuracy and always in close contact with the manuscript sources. He offers a profound study in the field of the history of ideas and concepts, and elaborates how the medieval understanding of ‘tragedy’ deviated step by step from the ‘reality’ of the genre in antiquity. In this way he undermines the idea ‘that there was a unitary understanding of tragedy in the Middle Ages.’" The book, wrote Theatre Research International critic Susanna Braund, "displays a wealth of learning and constitutes a mine of information, about tragedy and about other types of literature, including comedy, satire, lyric and … epic."

Reviewing Chaucerian Tragedy in Modern Language Review, Paul Hartle commented that though Kelly's analysis of individual tragedies is not entirely satisfactory, he is "a scrupulous guide to divergent medieval notions of those texts and understandings (both etymological and semantic) of the word itself."

Many of Kelly's books address religious topics significant in the Middle Ages, in particular the notion of the Devil. Indeed, among nonspecialist readers he is perhaps best known for his "biography" of the Devil, Satan: A Biography. The book examines sources in the Bible for the contemporary understanding of Satan, and explores how original scriptural descriptions differ from later views of this figure. Satan began as simply a tempter—a serious role in testing the faith and goodness of human beings. In time, though, he became more cartoonish, a red-horned and demonic figure blamed for all the evils in the world. According to Observer critic Peter Conrad, Kelly "dislikes the fiction of an abstract, allegorised evil: the word is properly an adjective not a noun, and by turning it into a byword for ‘fathomless iniquity’ we render ourselves incapable of analysing and explaining the evil actions." Though Conrad appreciated Kelly's argument, he found Satan marred by Kelly's awkward attempts to engage general readers through an inappropriate breeziness and humor. By contrast, America writer Daniel J. Harrington hailed the book as the work of a "masterful teacher," writing that Kelly "is not only adept at interpreting biblical texts but also ranges with equal skill into patristics, canon law, hagiography, philosophical theology, early English poetry, Schleiermacher and rituals of exorcism. He places the texts in their proper literary and historical contexts, is careful to show what they say and do not say, guides the reader systematically through them, provides helpful summaries and repetitions, and does all this with a gentle and amiable tone."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

America, June 26, 1976, review of The Matrimonial Trials of Henry VIII, p. 568; October 9, 2006, Daniel J. Harrington, "The ‘Devil,’ You Say?," p. 29.

American Historical Review, October, 1976, review of The Matrimonial Trials of Henry VIII, p. 853.

ArtUS, January-February, 2008, Nathan Danilowicz, review of Satan: A Biography, p. 10.

Biography, September 22, 2007, James H. Morey, review of Satan, p. 633.

Booklist, January 15, 1969, review of The Devil, Demonology, and Witchcraft, p. 511.

Catholic Historical Review, October 1, 2007, William Monter, review of Satan, p. 879.

Catholic World, March, 1970, review of The Devil, Demonology, and Witchcraft, p. 275.

Choice: Current Review for Academic Libraries, May, 1969, review of The Devil, Demonology, and Witchcraft, p. 380; October, 1975, review of Love and Marriage in the Age of Chaucer, p. 1000; June, 1976, review of The Matrimonial Trials of Henry VIII, p. 577.

Christian Century, October 9, 1968, review of The Devil, Demonology, and Witchcraft, p. 1286; May 5, 1976, review of The Matrimonial Trials of Henry VIII, p. 445; May 21, 1986, Peter R. Powell, review of The Devil at Baptism: Ritual, Theology, and Drama, p. 525; February 20, 2007, Jeffrey Burton Russell, review of Satan, p. 54.

Church History, June, 1978, review of The Matrimonial Trials of Henry VIII, p. 228; December 1, 2007, David Frankfurter, review of Satan, p. 882.

College Literature, June, 1995, review of Ideas and Forms of Tragedy from Aristotle to the Middle Ages, p. 185.

Critic, February, 1969, review of The Devil, Demonology, and Witchcraft, p. 89.

English Studies, February, 1990, Hans Hansen, review of Chaucer and the Cult of Saint Valentine, p. 70.

History: Review of New Books, May, 1976, review of The Matrimonial Trials of Henry VIII, p. 153.

Journal of English and Germanic Philology, October, 1971, review of Divine Providence in the England of Shakespeare's Histories, p. 659; April, 1989, Margaret J. Ehrhart, review of Chaucer and the Cult of Saint Valentine, p. 223; April 1, 1999, Paul Strohm, review of Chaucerian Tragedy, p. 258.

Journal of Religion, October, 1987, Jeffery Burton Russell, review of The Devil at Baptism, p. 601.

Journal of Theological Studies, October, 2007, Brian Murdoch, review of Satan, p. 681.

Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 1968, review of The Devil, Demonology, and Witchcraft, p. 865.

Library Journal, February 15, 1975, review of Love and Marriage in the Age of Chaucer, p. 395; December, 1, 1975, review of The Matrimonial Trials of Henry VIII, p. 2248.

Medium Aevum, fall, 1989, review of Chaucer and the Cult of Saint Valentine, p. 340; spring, 1991, L. Pertile, review of Tragedy and Comedy from Dante to Pseudo-Dante, p. 139; March 22, 1995, Christian Kiening, review of Ideas and Forms of Tragedy from Aristotle to the Middle Ages, p. 108.

Modern Language Review, October, 1978, review of The Matrimonial Trials of Henry VIII, p. 871; January, 1992, John Took, review of Tragedy and Comedy from Dante to Pseudo-Dante, p. 216; July, 1996, Lynette Muir, review of Ideas and Forms of Tragedy from Aristotle to the Middle Ages, p. 681; July 1, 1999, Paul Hartle, review of Chaucerian Tragedy, p. 775.

Observer (London, England), August 27, 2006, Peter Conrad, review of Satan.

Publishers Weekly, July 29, 1968, review of The Devil, Demonology, and Witchcraft, p. 64.

Reference & Research Book News, February, 2002, review of Inquisitions and Other Trial Procedures in the Medieval West, p. 160.

Religious Studies Review, April, 1996, review of Ideas and Forms of Tragedy from Aristotle to the Middle Ages, p. 154.

Renaissance and Reformation, spring, 1980, review of The Matrimonial Trials of Henry VIII, p. 105.

Review for Religious, March, 1969, review of The Devil, Demonology, and Witchcraft, p. 318; July, 1977, review of The Matrimonial Trials of Henry VIII, p. 654.

Review of English Studies, May, 1972, review of Divine Providence in the England of Shakespeare's Histories, p. 1998; May, 1977, review of Love and Marriage in the Age of Chaucer, p. 194; November 1, 1998, Edward Wilson, review of Chaucerian Tragedy, p. 499.

Romance Philology, November, 1993, Virginia Jewiss, review of Tragedy and Comedy from Dante to Pseudo-Dante, p. 259.

Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies, July, 1977, review of Love and Marriage in the Age of Chaucer, p. 701; April, 1989, John P. McCall, review of Chaucer and the Cult of Saint Valentine, p. 453; July, 1991, Frederick S. Paxton, review of The Devil at Baptism, p. 654; July, 1992, Deborah Parker, review of Tragedy and Comedy from Dante to Pseudo-Dante, p. 704; July, 1994, David Bevington, review of Ideas and Forms of Tragedy from Aristotle to the Middle Ages, p. 813; January, 2000, Piero Boitani, review of Chaucerian Tragedy, p. 204.

Theatre Research International, June 22, 1994, Susanna Braund, review of Ideas and Forms of Tragedy from Aristotle to the Middle Ages, p. 165.

Western Humanities Review, winter, 1976, review of Love and Marriage in the Age of Chaucer, p. 66.

ONLINE

Bryn Mawr Classical Review,http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/ bmcr/ (July 25, 2008), Eugene Vance, review of Ideas and Forms of Tragedy from Aristotle to the Middle Ages.

Catholic Books Review,http://www.catholicbooksreview.org/ (July 25, 2008), Charles P.E. Burns, review of Satan.

Department of English, University of California Web site,http://www.english.ucla.edu/ (July 25, 2008), Kelly faculty profile.

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