The University Record, July 8, 1998


Irwin Robert Titunik

With profound sadness, the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures reports the death Jan. 25, 1998, of Irwin R. Titunik who was a mainstay of its faculty for nearly four decades, from his initial appointment as an instructor in 1959 until well after his retirement in 1995.

Prof. Titunik, “Tye” to his friends and colleagues, was born in New York and graduates from DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx in 1947. He subsequently studied at the University of Chicago, City College of New York and the University of California, Berkeley, where he received a B.A. in classics in 1953 and a Ph.D. in Slavic languages and literatures in 1963. His university studies were interrupted by the Korean War, during which he completed the intensive Russian language program at the Army Language School, Monterey, Calif. He later carried on specialized research at the School of Slavonic Studies, the University of London, as well as at the universities of Moscow and Leningrad. He also was a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and at the University of Texas.

A scholar of international repute and a recognized authority on such diverse topics as 18th-century Russian literature, narrative theory (especially Leskovian skaz) and authorial images, he also engaged in pioneering research on the Russian literary theorists Bakhtin and Voloshinov. His publications in this area preceded by nearly a decade the emergence of “Bakhtin studies” outsides Slavistics, and his original stance in the polemics surrounding Bakhtin has now won general acceptance.

Titunik was a superb teacher at all levels and across virtually the entire curriculum in Russian language and literature. His graduate courses underpinned the whole graduate program, and his seminars were models of academic rigor that set a high standard of professional training. Prof. Titunik’s friends, colleagues and former students will miss his wisdom, his dedication, his scholarly guidance and his intellectual judgment.

Submitted by the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures


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