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REED-L  February 2014

REED-L February 2014

Subject:

Re: contracts and invoices

From:

Sally-Beth Maclean <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

REED-L: Records of Early English Drama Discussion

Date:

Tue, 18 Feb 2014 17:35:29 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (107 lines)

We were saddened to learn of the death of Prof. Charles Forker this  
past week. The following tribute has been provided by Susan Cerasano  
for circulation to his friends and admirers on REED-L:

15 February 2014
RIP:  Charles R. Forker (1927-2014)

I am writing, with sadness, to report that Prof. Charles R. Forker,  
86, died in Bloomington, Indiana, on February 15th after a recurrence  
of cancer.  Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Charles was  
educated at Bowdoin College (BA), Merton College, Oxford (BA and MA),  
and Harvard University (PhD). He also served in the US Army Medical  
Corps for almost two years at the end of WWII.  (More specifically,  
after completing his basic training he was sent immediately to Germany  
and, in addition to other responsibilities, he stood guard, for a  
time, at the Nuremberg trials, an experience that led to the telling  
of some fascinating stories.)  Upon completing his doctorate Charles  
began teaching at Indiana University (Bloomington) where he remained  
for the entirety of his career, except for the years during which he  
held guest teaching positions at the University of Michigan, Dartmouth  
College, Colgate University, and Concordia University in Montreal,  
Quebec.
     Charles was perhaps best known as an editor of scholarly editions  
and for his interests in the English history play and Jacobean revenge  
tragedy.  His Arden edition of Shakespeare?s Richard II and his Revels  
edition of Marlowe?s Edward II are monumental; and his critical study  
of the plays of John Webster (Skull Beneath the Skin, 1986) is a  
substantial contribution to the field.  The list of his early  
publications includes an edition of James Shirley?s The Cardinal  
(1964) and an annotated bibliography of Shakespeare?s Henry V (1983,  
with Joseph Candido).  Charles?s most recent work, the Revels edition  
of The Troublesome Reign of John, King of England, was published three  
years ago in 2011.  Not least of all, he published many essays and  
reviews, which appeared in an array of learned journals, including  
Shakespeare Quarterly, Shakespeare Studies, Hamlet Studies, and  
Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England. He contributed, as well, to  
many essay collections and he authored several pieces for the recent  
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.  Charles?s lifetime interests  
in Reformation history and Anglican theology?which lay at the center  
of his being?are reflected in many of his writings, and, most  
obviously, in his final published essay, a monumental piece on  
Shakespeare?s religion, which has appeared recently in an essay  
collection entitled Shakespeare the Man:  New Decipherings (ed. Rupin  
W. Desai, 2014).
     To his closest friends Charles was known affectionately as  
?Charlemagne? and, amongst other things, he seems to have possessed  
one of the largest bow tie collections in the West.  Throughout his  
life he travelled extensively (venturing, as recently as last summer,  
to Poland with Michael Jamieson where Charles wanted not only to study  
the historic architecture, but where he felt a moral obligation to  
tour the death camps).  Always, Charles seemed to live life to the  
fullest, making friends easily and mentoring numerous students and  
junior colleagues over the course of his career.  And when he was not  
working on academic research Charles was fascinated by any kind of  
artistic endeavor.  He was often the first to have seen the latest  
film or opera production and was himself a very good pianist.  In  
fact, he possessed a substantial knowledge of music.  During his early  
years Charles studied to become an orchestra conductor, interning  
during one summer as a junior conductor at the prestigious Tanglewood  
Summer Festival in western Massachusetts when the New York  
Philharmonic was in residence.
    Not only was Charles naturally inclined to kindness and genuine  
warmth, but he appreciated life?s ironies and its humor, and he loved  
to unleash his wonderful infectious laugh.  I remember one day, when  
we were both working in the old British Library, I had consulted with  
Charles on the gloss of the word ?darts? that appeared in an early  
modern Anthony-and-Cleopatra play that I was editing.  At first,  
?missiles? seemed as if it might do, but then we both realized that  
modern students might mistake this word for the homonym ?missals?,  
thereby being led to think (erroneously) that the ancient Egyptians  
were throwing prayer books (and perhaps lecterns) at the Romans.   
Ultimately, I settled on ?spears?; however, the potential for this  
misreading conjured up such side-splitting laughter that the two of us  
could barely contain ourselves and finally we had to vacate the  
library, rushing out of the south door with tears running down our  
faces while the museum guards, looking on, found themselves drawn into  
the revelry, even though they didn?t quite understand what had set us  
off.
     I?m sure that many of Charles?s friends and colleagues can well  
remember similar moments.  Of all the people I have known, Charles was  
the one who was most often hell-bent on fun.  But Charles was also  
hell-bent on astute and erudite conversation, on excellent teaching,  
on improving our collective understanding of early modern dramatic  
literature, and, not least of all, on the maintenance of decency and  
fair treatment for all those with whom he came into contact.  This  
latter characteristic was witnessed first-hand by the many students  
and faculty at Indiana University in the late 1970s for whom a  
newly-founded chapter of Integrity (a national LGBTQ organization)  
provided a significant social and intellectual role during a time when  
any allusion to issues of sexual identity was certain to unleash  
flaming antagonism.  However, realizing the importance of Integrity,  
Charles publicly supported its creation and maintenance, a conviction  
that placed him in the way of incredible opposition, both personally  
and professionally.  So finally, the Charles I knew was hell-bent on  
many things, but decency was always in the forefront, one of his many  
virtues that will doubtless be remembered with admiration by devoted  
friends and colleagues.
     A requiem Mass will be celebrated by Trinity Episcopal Church in  
Bloomington with interment to follow.  A full obituary will be printed  
in the Bloomington Herald Times and elsewhere.  Those wishing to  
express condolences can send emails to Charles?s long-time friend  
Janet C. Stavropoulos, Esq. ([log in to unmask]), or written  
correspondence can be sent to her home address (218 Kenler Drive,  
Bloomington, IN, 47408, USA).  All correspondence will be forwarded to  
Charles?s family and friends.
								S. P. Cerasano
  								Colgate Unive

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