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Kaplan, Harold, 1916-2015



  • Existence: 1916 - 2015

Harold Kaplan was born in Chicago on January 3, 1916 to Elia and Ida Kaplan. He received his B.A. from the University of Chicago in 1937, and his M.A. from the same institution in 1938. Kaplan then served in the U.S. Army Air Force from 1942 to 1946, earning the rank of captain. From 1946 to 1949, Kaplan lived in Greenwich Village in New York City while teaching English composition to G.I.s at Rutgers University. Kaplan was asked in 1949 to join Bennington College’s Literature Division, where he stayed until 1972. 

Kaplan left Bennington to become part of Northwestern University’s English Department in 1972, where he taught until his retirement in 1986. Kaplan was the Acting Chair of the English Department duing the 1980-1981 school year. Throughout his career he spent time as a Fulbright Visiting Professor at several universities, including the French universities of Aix-Marseilles, Poitiers, Clermont-Ferrand, and Dijon; the University of Bari in Italy; and Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel.  

His published books include The Passive Voice: An Approach to Modern Fiction (1979), Power and Order: Henry Adams and the Naturalist Tradition in American Literature (1981), Conscience and Memory: Meditations in a Museum of the Holocaust (1994), Democratic Humanism and American Literature (1972, 2004), and Poetry, Politics and Culture: An Argument in the Works of Eliot, Pound, Stevens and Williams (2007), Redemptive Memory (2009), and A Memoir of Being Human (2013).

Kaplan met his wife, Isabelle Ollier, while teaching in Dijon, France in 1961. The Kaplans later had three children: Anne, Gabriel, and Claire. Harold Kaplan died March 7, 2015 in Williamstown, Massachusetts after a period of declining health.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Harold Kaplan Papers

Identifier: 11/3/11/39
Abstract Harold Kaplan was a professor of English and American Literature at Northwestern University from 1972 to 1986, when he became professor emeritus. Before coming to Northwestern, Kaplan taught at Rutgers University and Bennington College, after having served in the United States Air Force for four years. He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Chicago. This collection includes Kaplan’s class notes, drafts for books and essays, correspondence, talks, and the reviews of his...
Dates: 1946 - 2013; Other: Date acquired: 03/03/2011