Elliott, Robert C., 1914-1981

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Literary scholar specializing in the areas of satire and utopian narrative. Robert C. Elliott (1914-1981) was educated at Wabash College (BA 1936), Columbia University (MA 1937), and Brown University (Ph. D. 1946). He taught in the English depts. at the University of Hawaii (1937-1941) and Ohio State University (1946-1964) before taking a position in the newly formed UCSD Dept. of Literature in 1964, over which he presided as chair for 1968-1971. Elliott is the author of several important monographs treating the subject of literary satire, among them, THE POWER OF SATIRE (1960), THE SHAPE OF UTOPIA (1970), and THE LITERARY PERSONA (1982).

From the description of Papers, 1946-1981. (University of California, San Diego). WorldCat record id: 32333819


Robert Carl Elliott (1914-1981) received a bachelor of arts degree from Wabash College (1936), a master of arts degree from Columbia University (1937), and a Ph.D. from Brown University (1946). He first taught English at the University of Hawaii (1937-1939, 1941) and later joined the faculty at Ohio State University in 1946, attaining the rank of professor in 1959.

During the Second World War, Elliott served in the Navy as a combat intelligence officer in the Pacific theatre. He was discharged in 1946 as a lieutenant and received the Bronze Star.

Elliott's career at the University of California, San Diego began in 1964 when he was recruited to help found the Department of Literature. He later served as department chairman (1968-1971). While at UCSD, Elliott chaired the Committee on Academic Personnel and served on the Budget Committee.

Elliott received a Ford Foundation fellowship (1952-1953) to pursue research at Yale University and a Guggenheim Memorial Foundation grant (1962) to study utopian literature. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the International Association of University Professors of English, PEN, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the English Institute (chairman, 1978), the Modern Language Association, the American Association of University Professors (president of the Ohio State chapter, 1963-1964), and the American Comparative Literature Association.

Perhaps Elliott's most important contribution to literature is his work on satire and its role in the creation of utopian societies in literature. A major argument of Elliott's "The Shape of Utopia: Studies in a Literary Genre," is that satire and utopian writing have a common origin, as evidenced by the development of the two genres. Rather than Plato's Republic being the original utopia, Elliott contends that myths of the Golden Age, as passed down during Saturnalian feasts, which both venerated and ridiculed the Golden Age, were instead the precursors of utopian genre literature.

From the guide to the Robert Elliott Papers, 1946 - 1981, (University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Robert Elliott Papers, 1946 - 1981 University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
creatorOf Elliott, Robert C., 1914-1981. Papers, 1946-1981. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Allen, Don Cameron, 1941- person
associatedWith Bate, Walter Jackson, 1918-1999, person
associatedWith Erdman, David V., person
associatedWith Hunter, J. Paul, 1934- person
correspondedWith Marcuse, Herbert, 1898- person
associatedWith Marcuse, Herbert, 1898-1979, person
correspondedWith Martin, Jay person
associatedWith Martin, Jay, person
associatedWith Pearce, Roy Harvey, person
associatedWith Said, Edward W. person
correspondedWith Stillinger, Jack person
associatedWith Stillinger, Jack, person
associatedWith University of California, San Diego corporateBody
associatedWith University of California, San Diego. Dept. of Literature corporateBody
associatedWith Wright, Andrew H., person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Persona (Literature)
Utopias in literature


Birth 1914-11-23

Death 1981-04-13


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