A&S dean dies
Kellogg remembered for gentle nature
Robert Kellogg, who served
the University for more than four decades, died Jan. 3 of a liver-related
illness. He was 75.
Described as an uncommonly gentle and kind man, Kellogg was a
professor of English from 1957 until 1967, chairman of the English
department from 1974 to 1978, and Dean of the College
of Arts & Sciences from 1978 to 1985. He was the first
principal of Brown College at Monroe Hill from 1985 to 1999.
“His work was uncompromisingly excellent, and he took on
the hard assignments in his discipline — the difficult and
esoteric languages, the most exacting kind of editorial scholarship,
the large concepts that defied first analysis, yet led to long
steps forward,” said President
John T. Casteen III, who was a student of Kellogg’s.
Born in Ionia County, Mich., Kellogg received his master’s
and doctoral degrees from Harvard University and his bachelor’s
degree from the University of Maryland.
He was an early advocate of coeducation and the inclusion of African-American
students in the University.
A scholar of Medieval English literature with wide-ranging interests
and knowledge, he developed expertise in works that extended from
the Middle Ages in several languages to James Joyce. Kellogg was
also an expert on Icelandic literature, and after retiring from
U.Va., he was a visiting professor at the University of Iceland
in 1999 and 2001.
Kellogg studied Icelandic literature at the University of Iceland
and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to research forms of medieval
Icelandic narrative. He was probably best known for “A Nature
of Narrative,” a 1966 work with his then-colleague Robert
Scholes that traces the development of story-telling from Homer
to innovations in the 20th century. It became an almost instant
classic as a work of criticism and continues to be used in college
classrooms today. He also researched the poetry of Edmund Spenser
and made its language more accessible to students and advanced
When not engaged in scholarly pursuits, Kellogg gardened, one
of his favorite hobbies. “I am pretty interested in rhododendrons
and azaleas,” he said in a 1987 interview. “I have
about 150 to 200 varieties of [them] in my garden,” said
Kellogg, who was active in Charlottesville’s rhododendron
society for nearly 40 years.
According to Casteen, Kellogg “smiled and laughed comfortably
and well. For these many good qualities and much more, we miss
him, and we honor him for what he has meant to us.”
Plans for a memorial service will be announced at a later date.