In Memoriam - Hope Glidden, Department of French and Italian

With feelings of deep sadness, the Department of French and Italian announces that Hope H. Glidden, Professor of French and Francophone Studies at Syracuse University, passed away on Sunday, September 17, 2017. Professor Glidden began her career at Wesleyan University in 1973, while finishing her PhD at Columbia University, which she received in 1976. She devoted the largest part of her career to Tulane’s Department of French and Italian, where she served from 1981 to 2010, before joining Syracuse University. 

Throughout her career, she received many honors. While at Tulane, she held the Kathryn B. Gore Endowed Chair in French Literature and Culture from 1998 until her departure from Tulane; was named Chevalière de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the French Ministry of Culture in 2001; and was named Outstanding Teacher of the year by the Newcomb College Mortar Board in 1995. A specialist in French Renaissance literature, she published several books and numerous articles, while passionately sharing her expertise in French literature, culture, and history in her courses. Her friends at Tulane and elsewhere remember her with admiration and affection.

I first met Hope when I interviewed for my Tulane position. Once I joined the department, it was clear early on that she wanted to make sure that I, as the only junior faculty member at the time, had a friend. She invited me to her place on Thanksgiving and I met some of her other friends. Although a French Renaissance scholar, she had a genuine interest in Antonioni’s modernist films, so we had some nice conversations. As another colleague said, she was a free spirit. To show my respect and appreciation I gave her my DVD of L’eclisse to keep. Every summer she said that during my travels to Italy or Cyprus I should also make a stop in Paris and be her guest. It had always been my intention to take her up on her offer eventually – too late. I miss her now more than ever before.
– Michael Syrimis

Hope Glidden had a passion for all things French: literature and culture, politics and history. But what courage it must have taken to follow her passions, from a small liberal arts college to Columbia University; from Wesleyan to Tulane, from her US home to her Paris apartment in the Marais; and then on to Syracuse.
In the great Querelle des anciens et des modernes that raged on U.S. university campuses, and not least in French departments, Hope – so resolutely “ancienne” – also fought for the “modernes”. This too must have taken great intellectual courage. For me, this is her legacy.
– Felicia McCarren

I remember encountering Hope for the first time in the hallway outside the hotel room where my interview for a job at Tulane was to take place. I did not know who she was or that she would be part of the interview team, but her stature, her dress, and her impressive head of hair made her seem an intimidating presence. What I discovered in the interview, and later came to know during many years as her colleague, was instead a warm and generous person, full of wit and laughter and always supportive of her junior colleagues. She is dearly missed.
– Tom Klingler

Hope Glidden was a Tulane treasure. An internationally recognized researcher and beloved mentor to many students and young scholars, she had an indelible impact on the institution. A leading figure in the effort to rejuvenate French studies in the 1980s and 90s, Hope combined a strong philological training in Renaissance literature with interests in women's and gender studies and queer theory. Her course on French Feminisms was wildly popular, attracting students from many majors. Hope was above all a genuine humanist: passionate about texts and ideas as well as friendships and collegial relations. I will remember her as a dear friend and mentor. She picked me up at the airport when I came for my job interview at Tulane. She drove, as I later learned was her wont, at a maddeningly slow pace, more interested in the conversation than in arriving at the destination. It seems to me now that she lived in the same way that she drove, taking pleasure in the moment and always searching for an inspiring idea.
– Madeleine Dobie

Hope Glidden was a true intellectual, a scholar for whom French literature was a calling. She had for her chosen profession a passion that ensured that she would live a full and rich life. She was a model of dignity and equanimity, and at the same time was graced with wit and a sense of humor. Optimistic and uncannily insightful, she always saw – and brought out – the best in others. Her wisdom and her integrity were an inspiration to all who knew her.
– Vaheed Ramazani

After I settled down in the “fishbowl,” as we call our conference room in our department, Hope walked in and interviewed me for the position. As the interview was ending, she asked if I knew a little French and I responded, “Mais bien sûr je suis d’éducation française, j’ai appris le français avant de parler l’anglais.” Hope was baffled. She could not talk. And I added, “I also speak Arabic,” a language that we teach in our Department. Her face lightened up and I knew then that I was hired.
As she left Tulane, I wanted someone to help me bid farewell to this incredible professor, so I called the Provost’s office and asked him to please call Hope and thank her and wish her well – which he did, but Hope had already left the office and did not get the message.
It is very difficult for me to believe that Hope is gone. She will always remain in my heart as a loving, warm person who opened the doors of the Department of French and Italian at Tulane for me, and to whom I will always be appreciative. I can still see her walking on campus with her erect body, dangling a leather suitcase and her eternal hat.
– Jeanny Keck