Jackson I. Cope, 73, scholar, Hopkins professor of English, comparative literature

August 12, 1999|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Jackson I. Cope, an author and former professor of English and comparative literature at the Johns Hopkins University, died Thursday from complications of liver disease at Castle Franco Hospital in Venice, Italy. He was 73.

Mr. Cope taught at Hopkins from 1961 to 1972, when he became Leo S. Bing Professor of English at the University of Southern California. He retired from USC in 1987.

He returned to Baltimore to lecture at Hopkins and stayed until his 1996 move to Venice.

Considered an expert in Renaissance literature and drama, he also was an acknowledged authority on the works of John Milton, James Joyce and Robert Coover. He was the author of some 10 books and numerous scholarly articles and monographs.

"Jack always cast a wide net. He was a very learned man," said Richard A. Macksey, professor of comparative literature and the history of medicine at Hopkins.

"He was known in many circles, such as the Miltonists, Joyce or the Italian theater. He was perhaps best known for his book on Milton, `The Metaphoric Structure of Paradise Lost,' " Macksey said.

"In the later part of his career, he became interested in 20th-century fiction and contemporary writers. My sense was that he was always well-respected by those who studied the Renaissance," said John T. Irwin, Decker Professor in the Humanities and professor in The Writing Seminars at Hopkins.

Shortly before his death, Mr. Cope finished a monograph, "Mixed Genres at Harry's Bar," about the famous Venice watering hole frequented by Ernest Hemingway and other celebrities. The piece will be published by Critique, a scholarly publication.

Born in Muncie, Ind., Mr. Cope was raised in Chicago, where, friends said, he was a Golden Gloves boxer. He served in the Army Air Forces during World War II.

He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois in 1950 and later earned master's and doctoral degrees from Hopkins.

In 1952, he began teaching comparative literature and English at Ohio State University. He also taught at Washington University and Rice University before returning to Hopkins.

Mr. Cope's four marriages ended in divorce.

Plans for a memorial service in Baltimore are incomplete.

He is survived by two sons, Dryden Cope of Utah and Cameron Cope of Montpelier, Vt.; a daughter, Tami Cope of Montpelier; and a special friend, DeAnn DeLuna of Baltimore.

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