“Nothing in man is more serious than his sense of humor; it is the sign that he wants all the truth.”
Mark Van Doren (1894–1972)
Faculty 1920–59; Emeritus, 1959–72
A legendary classroom presence who inspired generations of Columbia students—many of them future writers and critics—Van Doren was a poet, editor, and biographer as well as a scholar and teacher. Among his writings are Collected Poems, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1939; American and British Literature since 1890, with his brother, Carl Van Doren; critical studies of various authors, including John Dryden and Nathaniel Hawthorne; several anthologies, and The Noble Voice, a collection of essays.