Anna Lisa Crone, Expert in Russian Literature, 1946-2009
Anna Lisa Crone, Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago, who was widely respected for her ability to elucidate difficult Russian poetry of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, died June 19 after a 15-year battle with cancer. Crone, 63,died in her home in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood.
"Lisa spent her life in Russian literature, generously imparting to others her vast knowledge and wisdom," said Robert Bird, Chairman of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University.
Crone was a wide-ranging scholar of Russian and Slavic literature and language. Her first monograph, Rozanov and the End of Literature: Polyphony and the Dissolution of Genre in Solitaria and Fallen Leaves (1978), was an innovative literary study of the Russian philosopher Vasilii Rozanov. Bird said the book opened a new chapter in the study of Russian philosophical discourse.
In 2001 Crone published The Daring of Derzavin: The Moral and Aesthetic Independence of the Poet in Russia. In 2004, together with her student Jennifer Day, she published My Petersburg/Myself: Mental Architecture and Imaginative Space in Modern Russian Letters. She devoted her final years to a monograph on the philosophies of eros in Russian modernism; her friends are preparing the text for publication.
"Lisa was a philologist in the fullest sense, engaging in a lifelong dialogue with the writers she studied and with the students she taught," Bird said. "Her publications, formidable as they are, give only an inkling of her vast knowledge, sparkling wit and impassioned engagement with texts. Her voice is what I will miss most."
Crone was a dedicated and innovative teacher of both language and literature. She received a Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at the University in 1985, and a Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching in 2000.
She was recognized by of the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages with the society's 2000 Award for Achievement in Post-Secondary Teaching.
According to the award citation, Crone "inspired many colleagues and students, not only to continue in our profession, but to hold fast to the most important aspects of what we practice: the human and spiritual side of Slavic languages and literatures, and cultures."
In 1979 she founded Slavic Forum, an annual graduate student conference, which this past May met for the 29th time to showcase the work of graduate students from universities as far afield as Virginia and Yale. The Slavic Forum reunited many of her students and colleagues in 2006 to celebrate career. Two of her students edited the conference's proceedings, and in 2007, published Poetics, Self, Place: Essays in Honor of Anna Lisa Crone.
Crone taught through 2006, when she was forced to focus on her health, but she remained active as a scholar. During her career she directed almost 20 dissertations.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Crone was raised in North Carolina and graduated from Goucher College in 1967. After receiving her Ph.D. from Harvard in 1975, Crone came to the University of Chicago in 1977.
Lisa is survived by her husband Vladimir Donchik, her daughter Liliana ,her parents Ethel and James Crone of Chapel Hill, NC and sisters Laurel Sneed ofDurham and Moira Crone of New Orleans.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, June 24 at BondChapel on the campus of the University of Chicago. Donations in Crone'sname are being accepted by the Slavic Department of the University ofChicago for a Slavic Forum Prize.
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