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Bell Chevigny

Professor Emerita of Literature

Bell Gale Chevigny, 1936-2021

Bell Chevigny was one of the founders of the literature program. Throughout her years at Purchase, her extraordinary energy, intellect, joie de vivre, and sense of engagement animated the Literature Board of Study, the School of Humanities, and the Gender Studies program and radiated throughout the entire college. Bell kept up with changes at Purchase while remaining constant in her vision of a public college of the liberal arts and arts that welcomed and continues to welcome all promising students. She was a brilliant teacher and a pathbreaking scholar of American literature, which, in a move way ahead of its time, she reconceived as the literature of the Americas. In that and along with her colleagues across the humanities, she was responsible for the global reach of the literature major and for its welcoming of feminist, anti-racist, postcolonial, and other interdisciplinary approaches to the study of texts in many languages from all times and places.

Bell had a lifelong commitment to a humane and progressive politics and invested much time and energy in causes she believed in while at Purchase and throughout her retirement. A student, scholar and teacher with a passion for literature, she became, in mid-life, a published novelist.

When Bell retired, the School of Humanities honored her by establishing the Bell Chevigny Prize for Feminist Studies in the Humanities which recognizes the work of students who follow in her footsteps. We mourn her loss and celebrate her many legacies.

More About Me

Bell Gale Chevigny was the author of The Woman and the Myth: Margaret Fuller’s Life and Writings and the novel Chloe and Olivia; the editor of Doing Time: 25 Years of Prison Writing (A PEN American Center Prize Anthology) and Twentieth century interpretations of Endgame: a collection of critical essays (Prentice-Hall); and co-editor (with Gari Laguardia) of Reinventing the Americas: Comparative Studies of Literature of the United States and Spanish America (Cambridge University Press).

Education

  • BA, Wellesley College
  • MA, PhD, Yale University