I just read in the Berkeley English department newsletter that John Bishop, my former professor, retired late last year on account of a stroke, and is still recovering. Professor Bishop was my first English professor (English 45C: a survey of 20th century literature), and introduced me to many authors and books that now number among my favorites—including (but not limited to) Virginia Woolf, Vladimir Nabokov and Jean Toomer’s Cane. He was also the professor that introduced us to Hemingway by passing out a photocopied picture of him as a 6 or 7 year-old dressed in little girls’ clothing (priceless). While I never got to take a Joyce seminar with him (that one filled up fast my senior year [and why wouldn’t it? He did write the book on Finnegans Wake, after all]), I was grateful to be able to at least take an undergraduate survey course from him.
John has plans to do six one hour lectures on Ulysses with Prof. Michael Davis from Le Moyne College some time next year. I wish him the very best, and wish I could be a fly on the wall during those lectures (maybe they’ll be recorded!). I hope this is just a bump in the road, and that he’ll have many healthy and productive years ahead of him.