Madison-Per Nykrog, Smith Professor Emeritus of the Department of Romance Languages at Harvard University died peacefully on September 11, 2014 at Wynwood in Madison, WI.
He was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1925 and was a Danish national. He was at the Copenhagen University from 1945-53, Aarhus University from 1952-79, and Harvard from 1979-1998.
He was promoted Knight of the Order of Danneborg in 1965 and Chevalier de l'Ordre du Merite National by the government of France in 1992.
He was a world class scholar known for his path-breaking and brilliant research and writing. His most significant books are:
-Les Fabliaux. Copenhagen 1957
-Le PensÃ©e de Balzac dans la ComÃ©die humaine Paris 1965
-L'Amour et la Rose- Le Grand Dessein de Jean de Meung., Cambridge 1986
-La Recherche du Don Perdu-Points de RepÃ¨re dans le Roman de Marcel Proust 1987
-ChrÃ©tien de Troyes romancier Discutable. Geneva 1996
He was dynamic, with a sharp wit, compassionate and modest. As the Chairman of the Department of Romance Languages at Harvard from 1986-1991, he reshaped it by bringing new ideas and new talent.
An excellent teacher, he was respected and loved by his students. He touched everyone who came into contact with him. He is survived by his wife, Usha Nilsson, whom he adored and was married to for 33 years, a son Thomas Nykrog, three grandsons, Christian, Anders, Niels Nykrog, and a large extended family in India.
His private cremation will take place on Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at the Cress Center, and in the presence of close family, his ashes will be immersed in the ocean in Denmark.
I just learned of the passing of Professor Per Nykrog, whom I had the privilege to know and with whom I had the privilege to work at Harvard University when I was a graduate teaching assistant there between 1976 and 1982. One of my favorite French authors is Honore de Balzac, and Harvard was indeed so fortunate to be blessed by the presence of Professor Per Nykrog, one of the world's leading authorities on Balzac and the nineteenth century French novel. I hope to return soon to my alma mater, Davidson College, near Charlotte, North Carolina, and to teach courses there in French language, history and literature. In my courses on the French novel, I do hope that I shall inspire my students as much as we at Harvard University were inspired by this fine, urbane and learned professor and scholar of Denmark.
Per was my Grandma's Little-Brother . I remember him as a very kind and very protective, to each and everyone which he knew. May God bless him forever. Hugs and condolence from Camilla in Denmark.
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