COHEN, GUSTAVE (1879–1958), Belgian historian of medieval French literature and theater. Cohen studied at Brussels, Liège, and Lyons, and received his doctorate from the Sorbonne. He taught at Leipzig (1906–09), was professor of French language and literature at Amsterdam (1912–19), and in 1932 was appointed professor of the history of medieval French literature at the Sorbonne. After the fall of France in 1940, Cohen fled to the United States. In 1941 he was appointed visiting professor at Yale, and in the following year he became dean of the Faculty of Letters of the Ecole Libre des Hautes Etudes which he had founded in New York. After the liberation of France in 1944, Cohen resumed his chair at the Sorbonne. Among the many honors bestowed on him was that of laureate of the Académie Française (1921) and laureate of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres. Cohen's most important works are the Histoire de la mise en scène dans le théâtre religieux du moyen-âge (1906) and La comédie latine en France au xiie siècle (1931). He founded and led a group called the "Théophiliens," which presented medieval plays. Cohen was decorated for military service in World War i. He was a convert to Catholicism.
Publications of the Modern Language Association, 75 (1960), Supplement p. 132; Mélanges … Gustave Cohen (1950), 13.
[Howard L. Adelson]