Ark. (March 1, 2019) – The Hendrix community is saddened by the February
22 death of Dr. Ashby Bland Crowder, who retired from the Hendrix College
Department of English in 2009.
at Hendrix in 1974, after Dr. Charles Chappell ’64 and Crowder’s graduate
school classmate Dr. Ken Story invited him to apply for a vacancy in their
department. In 1982, he was named the inaugural M.E. and Ima Graves Peace
Professor of English, American
Literature, and the Humanities, a professorship he held until his retirement.
combined the talents of a first-rate scholar with the talents of a first-rate
teacher. He was one of the top scholars of Robert Browning on the globe, and he
did it while teaching a full load. He inspired his contemporaries and the next
generation of Hendrix faculty to see how teaching and scholarship complement
and strengthen one another,” said Chappell. “I was able to work with him on a
daily basis for more than 30 years, and his wit and erudition together were
just unforgettable. The pleasure of his company was matchless.”
of Manchester High School in Richmond, Va., Crowder worked part-time at the Richmond Times-Dispatch as a young man.
He graduated from Randolph-Macon College in 1963, and received his M.A. in
English from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, then his Ph.D. in English
from Birkbeck College, University of London, where he wrote on the poetry of
as one of the editors of the variorum edition of The
Complete Works of Robert Browning, published by Ohio University Press.
In addition to being a Browning scholar, he published at least a dozen books,
and, according to Chappell, “several hundred critical articles, notes, and
reviews—and he did all of it while chairing committees and advising students.”
A Fulbright Scholar, Crowder
received the South Central Modern Language Association’s 2004 Book Prize for
his book, Wakeful Anguish: A Literary
Biography of William Humphry. He continued to write for years after
retirement from teaching, and his edition of the poetry of John Crowe Ransom is
scheduled for publication in 2019.
said Crowder’s connections with Birkbeck College provided a valuable link in
establishing the Hendrix-in-London program. Crowder collaborated with fellow
Hendrix Professor of English Dr. Carol West to get that program off the ground.
his family, literature, the lively discussion of art and ideas, the beauty of
language, and his home state of Virginia. He is survived by his wife of 45
years, Lynn O’Malley Crowder of Richmond, and a son, Ashby Bland Crowder III of
will be held March 16 at 2 p.m. at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 6000 Grove
Avenue, Richmond. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Environmental Defense Fund.
About Hendrix College
liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns
recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is
featured in Colleges That Change Lives:
40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic
quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture
in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has
been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more,