Celeste Goodridge

Celeste Goodridge, professor of English, died on March 3, 2018, in Scarborough, Maine.

(The following notice was shared by President Rose on March 6, 2018)

To the Bowdoin community,

It is my sad duty to inform you that Professor of English Celeste Goodridge passed away peacefully in Scarborough, Maine, on Saturday, March 3, at the age of 63, after a period of declining health. Celeste had been a member of the Bowdoin faculty ​since 1986 and was a valued colleague and a professor beloved by her students. Celeste maintained an active interest in the intellectual and personal development of her former students in the years following their graduation.
Celeste was born on May 18, 1954. She graduated as a member of Phi Beta Kappa and with an AB in American literature from George Washington University in 1975. She earned an AM in English at The College of William and Mary in 1977, and a PhD in English at Rutgers University in 1985. She also was enrolled in the School of Criticism and Theory at Northwestern University in 1985. In 1989 she was the Ernestine Richter Avery Fellow of The Huntington Library.
In the 1985-1986 academic year, she was assistant director of the Livingston College Writing Program at Rutgers University. She joined the Bowdoin faculty in 1986 as an assistant professor of English, was promoted to associate professor in 1991, and to professor of English in 1997. From 1994 to 1996, she served as the chair of the English department. She was a Bunting Institute Fellow at Harvard University in the 1996-1997 year.
Celeste’s research interests covered a broad range of topics, including twentieth-century and contemporary American poets, Cold War literature and culture, the literature of the South, and literary and cultural theory. She had a gift for engaging her students and professional colleagues in the public and private worlds of modernist poets through a keen appreciation of the relationship between the personal and private performance that created art and the presentation of that art to an audience. Her 1989 book, Hints and Disguises: Marianne Moore and Her Contemporaries, is a work of scholarly brilliance that explores the linguistic precision, complexity, and richness of Moore’s poetry within the social and literary context of her contemporaries, such as T. S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, Ezra Pound, and William Carlos Williams. ​She was the coeditor of Selected Letters of Marianne Moore (1997), and she wrote a number of book chapters, scholarly articles, and reviews on Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, Amy Clampitt H’92, Toni Morrison, Leslie Marmon Silko, Galway Kinnell, and Susan Sontag.
Between 1986 and 1989, Celeste served successively as secretary and treasurer, vice president, and president of the Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA). She was a member of the editorial boards of Sagetrieb (a journal of the National Poetry Foundation) and the annual journal Studia Mystica and served on review boards for grant proposals submitted to the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).
She will be missed a great deal by her professional colleagues at Bowdoin and elsewhere, by her friends, by her former students, and by all those whose understanding—of poetry and of life—has been expanded and enriched by her remarkable legacy of teaching and scholarship.
Celeste’s friends are planning a memorial service in celebration of her life at a later date. Gifts in her memory may be made to the Department of English at Bowdoin (c/o Office of Development and College Relations, 4100 College Station, Brunswick, ME  04011-8432).

9 Comments Celeste Goodridge

  1. Diane Chandler

    This is a beautiful tribute To Celeste. (Aka Boots) We knew her during our younger years. She was vibrant and beautiful. Always brilliant.

      1. Kuniko Talmage

        Dear Ruth, I am so sorry about your mother. She was a wonderful friend of mine and I will miss her terribly. She loved you so much and was so proud of you every day of her life. Thinking of you Ruth…..Kuniko

      1. Aliye Koylan

        Bunny, do you remember me. I’m Sadi”s daughter Aliye. people have called me Dale since I was 16. I can’t believe that Boots is gone. I’m so sorry.

  2. Bruce Carruthers

    What terrible news! I knew Celeste in graduate school at Rutgers University, in the early 1980s, but had no contact afterwards. What a lovely person! So smart and with such a wry wit. My sincerest condolences to her family.

  3. Roberta Anthes

    I’m coming to this news very late, and I’m so sorry to hear it. I knew Celeste in graduate school at Rutgers in the late 70s, early 80s. She was so generous with her support for my grad work and even let me crash at her apartment when I began to commute. I was awed by her mind and blessed by her friendship. My condolences to her friends and family on this terrible loss.

  4. Aliye Koylan

    I knew Boots,Celeste, when I was a young girl in Wash D.C. My dad Sadi Koylan almost Married her mom, Mary Goodridge. i was also good friends with her older sister Felicia. im heartbroken to hear this.I always thought Boots would out live me because she was so much wiser.


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