Yale Bulletin and Calendar

May 10, 2002Volume 30, Number 29Two-Week Issue

Leslie Brisman

Brisman is appointed the Karl Young Professor

Leslie Brisman, the newly named Karl Young Professor of English, is a specialist in English poetry and the Bible as literature who has been honored with two prestigious teaching awards at Yale.

Last year, Brisman was presented a William Clyde DeVane Medal by the Yale Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest and highest-ranking award for undergraduate teaching at Yale. At the end of the 1999-2000 academic year, he was awarded the Sidonie Miskimin Clauss Prize for Teaching Excellence in the Humanities.

The citation for the DeVane Medal cited Brisman's "eclectic, and witty" teaching style. "Without ever diminishing the rigor of his analysis, he teaches us how to enrich our reading with our experience and how to enrich our experience with our reading," said the undergraduate who presented his award.

Brisman joined Yale's English department in 1969 as an instructor after earning his undergraduate degree at Columbia College and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Cornell University. He became a full professor in 1979. His books include "Milton's Poetry of Choice and Its Romantic Heirs," "Romantic Origins" and "The Voice of Jacob: On the Composition of Genesis." The latter won honorable mention in the Conference on Christianity and Literature's 1990 Book Award. His latest book, "Chosen People: The Intra-biblical Critique," is in progress.

The Yale English professor also has written more than 25 articles on such poets as Milton, Keats, Coleridge, Blake, Browning, Swinburne, Shelley and Byron, as well as such topics as biblical revisionism, the biblical books of Ezekiel and Esther, and the Bible in the college curriculum.

Brisman has lectured widely at universities throughout the United States, as well as at Modern Language Association conventions. He has also been a featured speaker at meetings of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature. He presented one of the University's Tercentennial talks last semester on the subject "The Text of the Bible: 1701-2001."

Brisman's other honors have included a Morse Fellowship from Yale and a Guggenheim Fellowship. The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded him four grants in the 1990s to direct seminars for other college teachers bridging the gap between the disciplines of contemporary literary criticism and conventional biblical scholarship.


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