Colin Robert Chase

Colin Robert Chase (5 February 1935 – 13 October 1984) was an American academic. An associate professor of English at the University of Toronto, he was known for his contributions to the studies of Old English and Anglo-Latin literature. His best-known work, The Dating of Beowulf, challenged the accepted orthodoxy of the dating of the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf, which had settled on a date in the latter half of the eighth century, and left behind what was described in A Beowulf Handbook as “a cautious and necessary incertitude”.[1][2]

American academic

Colin Chase

Colin Chase in April 1980
Colin Robert Chase

5 February, 1935

Denver, Colorado, U.S.
Died 13 October 1984(1984-10-13) (aged 49)
Occupation English professor
Years active 1971–1984
Notable work
  • The Dating of Beowulf (1981)
  • Two Alcuin Letter-Books (1975)

Born in Denver, Chase was one of three sons of a newspaper executive and a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Mary Coyle Chase. Chase’s two brothers became actors; he considered such a career, but ultimately studied English literature, classics, and philosophy. He received his Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University, Masters of Arts from Saint Louis and Johns Hopkins Universities, and PhD from the University of Toronto in 1971, the same year the university named him an assistant professor.

In addition to The Dating of Beowulf, Chase penned Two Alcuin Letter-Books, a scholarly collection of 24 letters by the eighth-century scholar Alcuin. He also wrote some eight articles and chapters, contributed to the Dictionary of the Middle Ages, and for nearly a decade wrote the Beowulf section of “This Year’s Work in Old English Studies” for the Old English Newsletter. Chase died of cancer in 1984, shortly before his anticipated promotion to full professor.

. . . Colin Robert Chase . . .

Colin Robert Chase was born in Denver, Colorado, in 1935.[3] His father, Robert Lamont Chase, was a newspaper executive, and his mother, Mary Coyle Chase, a playwright who went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1945.[4][5] Colin Chase had two brothers, Michael Lamont Chase and Barry Jerome “Jerry” Chase.[4] All three pursued an interest in acting. Michael Chase attended the Carnegie Institute of TechnologySchool of Drama, and was a member of the cast of the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia.[6][7] Jerry Chase acted in plays and movies, including one of his mother’s plays when 14 years old,[8][9][10] and wrote the play Cinderella Wore Combat Boots.[5][11] Colin Chase, meanwhile, nearly pursued an acting career, and would later perform in campus stage productions.[3]

Chase grew up in Denver, where he attended Teller Elementary School.[12] The success of his mother’s play Harvey led to some bullying in fourth grade, leading his mother to write a guest column about it in the Dunkirk Evening Observer.[12] He obtained his Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University in 1956, and studied classics and philosophy for five years at a Jesuit seminary.[3] In 1962 he received a Master of Arts from Saint Louis University, and in 1964 he received a second from Johns Hopkins University;[13][3] he matriculated at the University of Toronto the same year, became a part-time instructor there in 1967, and completed his PhD in 1971.[3][14] His dissertation was entitled Panel Structure in Old English Poetry.[14]

. . . Colin Robert Chase . . .

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. . . Colin Robert Chase . . .

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