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Brunoniana

From Martha Mitchell’s Encyclopedia Brunoniana:

Benedict, George W.

George Wyllys Benedict (1872-1966), professor of English, was born in Burlington, Vermont, on January 12, 1872. He graduated in 1893 from the University of Vermont, where his maternal grandfather had been president and his paternal grandfather professor of natural sciences and acting president. He taught at Phillips Andover Academy, and in 1895-96 studied at the University of Freiburg with German philologists Kluge and Thurneysen. He received his master’s degree from Harvard in 1897 and his Ph.D., also from Harvard, in 1899, his dissertation being a study of Sir Kay, seneschal of King Arthur’s court. In 1899 he came to Brown as an instructor, advancing to assistant professor in 1901, associate professor in 1906, and full professor in 1923. He taught English composition, Anglo-Saxon, Chaucer, medieval literature, Shakespeare, and the literature of the Romantic and the Victorian periods. He had another very different talent. He was an expert machinist, and in 1917 he worked for Builders Iron Foundry, which made marine engines for the Emergency Shipbuilding Corporation. During World War II, in his 70s, he was back at work again, this time turning out firing mechanisms and small precision parts for the Scott Instrument Company. In fact, as Professor I. J. Kapstein pointed out in his memorial minute for the faculty records, Benedict “was no less than a worshiper of the English language as a precision instrument ... he kept a wakeful vigil in behalf of what he worshiped, and students and colleagues alike in our communication with him, whether it was oral or written, trembled to hear his correction of a careless or infelicitous word or phrase. But there was no harshness, no condescension in his attention to our use of the language – there was always a smile, a touch of humor, to ease the sting of correction.” Benedict retired in 1937 and died in Providence on February 7, 1966 at the age of 94.

The above entry appears in Encyclopedia Brunoniana by Martha Mitchell, copyright 1993 by the Brown University Library. It is used here by permission of the author and the University and may not be copied or further distributed without permission.


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