Coda: Remembering Fred

By Voller, Jack G. | Papers on Language & Literature, Spring 2010 | Go to article overview

Coda: Remembering Fred


Voller, Jack G., Papers on Language & Literature


Those who have contributed to, and all those who will read, this special issue of PLL in honor of Fred Frank are, of course, only a tiny fraction of those whose lives, both personal and professional, were touched by Fred.

An erstwhile colleague of mine earned his B.A. in English at Allegheny College, where Fred taught for many years, and while there took Fred's course on the Gothic. Although this colleague took the class as a literature elective and not out of any fondness for the genre, it was abundantly clear from his descriptions of that course and his interactions with Fred that it had been a signal academic experience, one that contributed to his own decision to pursue a career in academe, largely because of the combination of Fred's passion for literature and his sense of humor and humanity.

My own first encounter with Fred was through his extensive scholarship, critically important to me as a graduate student writing a thesis on Gothic modes in British and American literature. The field of Gothic studies had even then been forever shaped by Fred's diligent scholarship, and so impressed was I with his command of the field that I ordered a copy of his doctoral thesis (never published though I believe even today it would make a contribution to the field). I also ordered a second thesis that seemed to cover much the same territory and that I hoped would prove as useful as Fred's promised to be.

I read Fred's thesis first, with considerable delight and to the great benefit of my own dissertation. I then turned to the second thesis I had ordered--and read it with horror. Not the delightful horror associated with the genre we love, but with moral horror and outrage, for the second thesis was a blatant plagiarism--word for word, pages at a stretch--of Fred's thesis.

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