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Christy, Arthur (1899-1946) | Archival Collections at Wheaton College

Name: Christy, Arthur (1899-1946)

Historical Note:

Arthur Edward Christy was born of missionary parents in China in 1899. At sixteen years of age he came to the United States. He received his A.B. from Wheaton College (1922), and his A.M. (1926) and Ph.D. (1932) from Columbia University. In 1927 Christy was an instructor of English at Washington Square College (a part of New York University). Between 1930 and 1945, Christy served on the faculty of Columbia University's Department of English and Comparative Literature and directed the Masters program in English. In 1935 he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for Intellectual History and American Literature. He spent one year as Professor of American Literature at the University of Illinois in 1945 before he died of a heart attack on July 8, 1946.

Christy's major sphere of study was that of eastern literary influence in the western world. His interest in comparative literature appeared in his dissertation The Orient in American Transcendentalism. The work is a study of the readings in oriental literature of Emerson, Thoreau and Alcott. Articles authored by Christy include two devoted to Whittier's orientalism and one to Lanier's. Christy edited The Asian Legacy and American Life for the East-West Association and had completed a great deal of the work toward his unfinished Thoreau Fact Book. Christy did publish an article on a portion of his research in the Colophon (vol. IV, part XVI, March, 1934).

In 1941 Christy approached the National Council of Teachers of English asking them to share in some ideas on intercultural relations. Upon the council's appointment of Christy to chair a specially created committee on comparative literature, he revealed the following projects: a bibliographical Guide to Comparative Literature and Intercultural Relations; The Comparative Literature Newsletter; a cooperative volume of essays entitled, The World Through Literature (published posthumously in 1951); and an anthology of world literature for use in college courses entitled, World Literature: An Anthology of Human Experience.

Note Author: Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections staff

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