Ralph Cohen Ephemera Collection, 1934-1996

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Compiled by: Angela Walthall, November 2011


Descriptive Summary:

Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Title: Ralph Cohen Ephemera Collection, 1934-1996, bulk 1960-1990

Collection No.: SC # 5025

Creator:  Various authors

Extent: 1.5 Hollinger boxes, .63 Linear Feet

Language:  English [German, French]


              The Ralph Cohen Ephemera Collection, 1934-1996, is comprised of an assortment of reprints of articles by various authors that are embellished with an inscription to Cohen from the author. Also included is a rare copy of a speech Cohen gave at the University of Utah in 1961 as well as the original manuscript for his The Unfolding of “The Seasons:” A Study of James Thomson’s Poem.


Administrative Information:

Access Restrictions: 

              Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions:

              The copyright interests in this collection have been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collection Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (library-special@jmu.edu).

Preferred Citation:   

[identification of item] Ralph Cohen Ephemera Collection, 1934-1996, SC#5025, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.

Acquisition Information:

              Ralph Cohen donated over 5,500 books from his personal collection to Carrier Library in April 2010; these items were found among this generous donation and transferred to Special Collections.

Bio/Historical Note: 

              Dr. Ralph Cohen is considered a leading authority on literary theory, and has been teaching philosophy and literature courses at universities around the world for most of his life. Dr. Cohen received his B.A. from the City College of New York in 1937, his M.A. from Columbia University in 1946, and his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1952. After teaching at UCLA for sixteen years, Dr. Cohen traveled the world teaching courses in places such as China, Australia, Europe, and Israel. After joining the Department of English faculty at the University of Virginia in 1967, he founded the academic journal New Literary History, which became crucial in the transformation of American literary criticism. He worked as the editor for New Literary History from 1969-2008.

Among his many other accomplishments, Dr. Cohen authored at least six books and several articles, served as the President for Society for Critical Exchange (1983-1986), Conference of Editors of Learned Journals (1980-1982), and the Academy of Literary Studies (1980), and received a multitude of other accolades including honorary degrees from Peking University and Shandong University in 1994. During the 2010-2011 school year, Dr. Cohen taught a course on critical procedures as James Madison University’s very first Provost Distinguished Professor.

Scope and Content: 

The Ralph Cohen Ephemera Collection, 1934-1996, consists of .63 linear feet and constitutes an assortment of reprints of articles by various authors that are embellished with an inscription to Cohen from the author. Also included is a rare copy of a speech Cohen gave at the University of Utah in 1961 as well as the original manuscript for his The Unfolding of “The Seasons:” A Study of James Thomson’s Poem. The collection is organized into two series: Autographed Materials and the Work of Ralph Cohen.

Series I, Autographed Materials, 1934-1993, contains 47 reprinted articles that were signed by the author and given to Cohen, often with a personal message. Typed and signed letters addressed to Cohen from the author and found with the corresponding article are also included here.

Series II, the Work of Ralph Cohen, 1961-1970, includes two original works: a copy of a lecture delivered at the University of Utah in 1961 as part of the Advancement of Learning series in recognition of achievements in graduate instruction, research, and service; and a typed and bound manuscript of his The Unfolding of “The Seasons:” A Study of James Thomson’s Poem.


              The collection is arranged in 2 series:

             I.     Autographed Materials

             II.    Work of Ralph Cohen




“Ralph Cohen.” Department of English at the University of Virginia.


“Ralph Cohen to be Honored at JMU.” James Madison University, Office of Public Affairs. Fall 2010.


Robertson, Sarah. “Dr. Ralph Cohen: The Man, the Myth, the Legend.” The School of Writing, Rhetoric

              and Technical Communication Alumni Webpage, December 2010.






SERIES I: AUTOGRAPHED MATERIALS, 1934-1993                                                                                  Box: Folder

              Alkon, Paul K. “Defoe’s Argument in the Shortest Way with the Dissenters”                                               1: 1

                                        Reprinted from The Journal of Modern Philology 73, no. 4 (1976):


                                        On the cover: “For Ralph and Libby Warm Regards Paul.”

                    Battestin, Martin C. “’Tom Jones’: The Argument of Design.” Offprint from

                                        The Augustan Milieu: Essays presented to Louis A. Landa.

                                        On the cover: “For Ralph—With my compliments and sincere

                                        esteem, Marty.”

                    Battestin, Martin C. “The Problem of Amelia: Hume, Barrow, and the Conversion

                                        of Captain Booth.” Reprinted from ELH, A Journal of English Literacy

                                        History 41, no. 4 (1974): 613-648.

                                        On the cover: “For Ralph, With my compliments and best wishes. Martin.”

                    Battestin, Martin C. and R. R. Battestin. “Fielding, Bedford, and the Westminster

                                        Election of 1749.” Reprinted from Eighteenth Century Studies.

                                        On the cover: “For Ralph and Libby, With best wishes, Martin and (Ruth?).”

                    Brown, Marshall. “The Urbane Sublime.” Reprinted from ELH, A Journal of English

                                        Literacy History (1978): 236-254.

                                        On the cover: “for Ralph ein (Geisterguis?) from Marshall.”

                    Feuer, Lewis S. “Recollections of Alfred North Whitehead in the Harvard

                                        Setting (1931-1937).” Reprinted from The Yale Review. Yale

                                        University: Yale University Press, 1987.

                                        On the cover: To Ralph Cohen, with warmest good wishes, from Lewis


                    Flynn, Elizabeth A, ed. Reader: Essays in Reader-Oriented Theory, Criticism,

                                        and Pedagogy, no. 10 (Fall1983).

                                        On the cover: “Ralph, If you don’t have a copy of this perhaps

                                        you’d like one? (Martin?).”

                    Folkenflik, Robert. “Self and Society: Comic Union in Humphry Clinker.”

                                        Reprinted from Philological Quarterly 53, no. 2 (1974): 195-204.

                                        On the cover: “For Ralph, Bob.”

                    Folkenflik, Robert. “Tom Jones, the Gypsies, and the Masquerade.” Reprinted

                                        from the University of Toronto Quarterly 4, no. 3 (1975): 224-237.

                                        On the first page: “For Ralph, Bob.”

                    Folkenflik, Robert. “Critical Exchange: Purpose and Narration in Fielding’s

                                        Amelia.” Copied from Novel 7 (1975): 168-174.

                                        On the cover: “For Ralph, Bob.”

                    Fowler, Alastair and Douglas Brooks. “The Structure of Dryden’s Song for St.                                           1: 2

                                        Cecilia’s Day, 1687.” From Silent Poetry: Essays in Numerological Analysis.

                                        London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. 185-200.

                                        Accompanied by a note: “13 vilo. NLH article not forgotten: in draft and

                                        being mulled over. I’m aiming at a mid-Nov deadline. Is this ___? Love

                                        to Libbie and yourself. (Yours ever?), Alastair.”

                                        Also on cover: “For Ralph 13 vilo 70. from Alastair.”

                    Gold, Joel J. “The Voyages of Jeronimo Lobo, Joachim Le Grand, and Samuel

                                        Johnson. Prose Studies 5, no. 1 (1982): 20-42.

                                        On the cover: “For Ralph Cohen with all good wishes –Joel J. Gold.”

                    Greene, Donald. “Smollet the Historian: A Reappraisal.” From Tobias Smollet:

                                        Bicentennial Essays presented to Lewis M. Knapp. Oxford

                                        University Press: 1971.

                                        On the cover: “For Ralph Cohen with regards Don Greene.”

                    Hamlin, Cyrus. “I.A. Richards (1893-1979): Grand Master of Interpretations.”

                                        University of Toronto Quarterly 44, no. 3 (1980): 189-204.

                                        On the cover:  “For Ralph Cohen with all best regard (Cyrus?).”

                    Hart, Francis Russell. “The Experience of Character in the English Gothic

                                        Novel.” Reprinted from Experience in the Novel. New York:

                                        Columbia University Press, 1968.

                                        On the cover: “To Ralph—with regards and gratitude. Rus.”

                    Hart, Francis R. “Limits of the Gothic: The Scottish Example.” Reprinted

                                        from Studies in Eighteenth Century Culture 3 (1973): 137-153.

                                        On the cover: “To Ralph—This is a poor, misled (thing?). But

                                        there’s neither (time) nor energy here to do anything better.

                                        Fond regards, Rus.”

                    Hooker, Edward Niles. “The Discussion of Taste, From 1750 to 1770, and

                                        the New Trends in Literary Criticism.” Reprinted from Publications

                                        of the Modern Language Association of America Issued Quarterly

                                        49, no. 2 (June 1934): 577-592.

                                        On the cover: “To Claude, with my regards and gratitude—E. N.


                    Hunter, J. Paul. “’Peace’ and the Augustans: Some Implications of Didactic

                                        Method and Literary Form.” Reprinted from Studies in Change

                                        and Revoltuion: Aspects of English Intellectual History 1640-1800.

                                        Scholar Press, 1972, 161-188.

                                        On the cover: For Ralph Cohen In admiration and friendship Paul.”

                    Hunter, J. Paul. “The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Reader.” Reprinted from

                                        Genre 10 (1977): 455-484.

                                        On the cover: “For Ralph, In admiration and friendship. Paul 28 April 1978.”

                    Jack, Ian. “The Elegy as Exorcism: Pope’s ‘Verses to the Memory of an Unfortunate


                                        On the cover: “For Ralph Cohen with my best wishes I.J.”

                    Kerrigan, William. “The Heretical Milton: From Assumption to Mortalism.”

                                        Reprinted from English Literary Renaissance 5, no. 1 (1975): 125-166.

                                        On the cover: “Ralph—Here’s the mortalism piece, significantly rewritten.

                                        My brief acknowledgments in Note 48 only begins to express my

                                        indebtedness to you for the new strengths that appeared in the

                                        rewriting. Wally”

                    Korshin, Paul J. “The Development of Abstracted Typology in England, 1650-1820.”                                      1: 3

                                        Reprinted from Literary Uses of Typology: From the Late Middle Ages to

                                        the Present. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1977. 147-203.

                                        On the cover: “For Ralph with best regards, Paul.”

                    Kremenliev, Elva. Midstream. Los Angeles: The Ocorr Press, 1980.

                                        On the title page: “To Ralph and Libby—(voices?) from the always,

                                        not the past. Fondly, Elva Kremenliev September 28, 1980.”

                                        On the publisher’s page: “Copy #81.”

                    Kuhns, Richard. Hume’s Republic and the Universe of Newton.

                                        On the title page: “With best regards Richard Kuhns.”

                    Laferriere, Daniel, ed. Bulletin of Literary Semiotics, no. 1 (May 1975).

                                        On the inside cover: “with the editors compliments.”

                    Macksoud, S John. Other Illusions: Inquiries Toward a Rhetorical Theory.

                                        S. John Macksoud, 1973.

                                        Inserted behind front cover: “Professor Cohen: You may want to

                                        read this. SJM.”

                    Mossner, Ernest Campbell, ed. “New Hume Letters to Lord Elibank, 1748-1776.”

                                        Reprint from The University of Texas Studies in Literature and Language

                                        4, no. 3 (Autumn 1962):431-460.

                                        On front cover: “For Ralph Cohen, fellow student of the Enlightenment

                                        and Hume, E. C. Mossner.”

                                        A letter to Cohen from Mossner also enclosed within the book, dated

                                        27 December 1962, which references the article.

                    Mosser, Ernest Campbell. Adam Smith: The Biographical Approach. Glasgow:                                            1: 4

                                        George Outram and Co. LTD., 1969.

                                        On the first page: “For Ralph with warm regards Ernest.”

                                        A letter dated 9 Dec 1969 from Peter to Ralph also enclosed.

                    Nelson Jr., Lowry. “The Fictive Reader and Literary Self-Reflexiveness.” Reprinted

                                        from Demetz, Peter, Thomas Greene, and Lowry Nelson, Jr., ed. The Disciplines

                                        of Criticism: Essays in Literary Theory, Interpretation, and History. New Haven

                                        and London: Yale University Press, 1968.

                                        On the cover: “For Ralph, Lowry.”

                    Novak, Maximillian E. “Defoe and the Disordered City.” Reprinted from “PMLA, March


                                        On the front: “To Ralph Cohen with regards Max Novak.”

                    Novak, Maximillian E. “History, Ideology and the Method of Defoe’s Historical Fiction.”

                                        Reprinted from Studies in the Eighteenth Century.

                                        On the front: “To Ralph affectionately, Max.”

                    Novak, Maximillian E. “Defoe’s ‘Indifferent Monitor:’ The Complexity of Moll Flanders.”

                                        Reprinted from Eighteenth Century Studies 3, no. 3.

                                        On the cover: “To Ralph from Max, I think the section on Moll’s response to her own

                                        narrative is completely original.”

                    Plank, Jeffrey. “John Aikin on Science and Poetry.” Reprinted from Studies in Burke and His

                                        Time 18, no. 3, 1977.

                                        On the front: “For Ralph, This is only the beginning! Thank you for the long

                                        preparation. (JIP?)”

                    Primer, Irwin. “Erasmus Darwin’s Temple of Nature: Progress, Evolution, and the

                                        Eleusinian Mysteries.” Reprinted from the Journal of the History of Ideas 25,

                                        no. 1 (Jan-Mar 1964): 58-76.

                                        On the first page: “For Professor Ralph Cohen, With best wishes, Irwin Primer.”

                    Rawson, Claude. “Narrative and the Proscribed Act: Homer, Euripides and the Literature

                                        of Cannibalism.” Reprinted from Literary Theory and Criticism.

                                        On the cover: “Libby and Ralph with affection from Claude.”

                    Rostvig, Maren-Sofie. “Chapter 5: Tom Jones and the Choice of Hercules.” Reprinted from

                                        Rostvig, Maren-Sofie, ed. Fair Forms: Essay in English Literature from Spenser

                                        to Jane Austen. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1975.

                                        On the title page: “Best greetings from Maren-Sofie Rostvig 10-VII-75.”

                                        Accompanied by “Chapter 1: Spenser’s defence of poetry: Some Structural

                                        Aspects of the Fowre Hymnes” by Einar Bjorvand.

                    Roth, Michael S. “Review: Untitled.” History and Theory: Studies in the Philosophy

                                        of History 32, no. 2 (1993): 188-196.

                                        On the first page: “For Ralph, With best wishes, M.”

                    Schmidt, Siegfried J. “Komic Im Beschreibungsmodell Kommunikativer Handlungsspiele.”                             1: 5

                                        Reprinted from Das Komische, 1976.

                                        On the first page: An inscription in German, signed by Schmidt.

                    Sharrock, Roger. “The Chemist and the Poet: Sir Humphrey Davy and the Preface to

                                        Lyrical Ballads.” Reprinted from Notes and Records of the Royal Society

                                        of London 17, no. 1 (May 1962): 57-76.

                                        On the cover: “Best wishes from Roger Sharrock to Ralph Cohen.”

                    Starobinski, Jean. “L’histoire litteraire et les methodes. Reprinted from Litterature

                                        Histoire Linguistique Recueil d’etudes offert a Bernard Gagnebin, 1973.

                                        On the first page: An inscription in French signed by Starobinski.

                    Starobinski, Jean. “La vie et les aventures du mot ‘reaction.’” Reprinted from The

                                        Modern Language Review 70, no. 4 (October 1975).

                                        On the first page: An inscription in French signed by Starobinski.

                    Thielemann, Leland. “Voltaire and Hobbism.” Reprinted from Studies on Voltaire

                                        and the Eighteenth Century 10 (1959): 237-258.

                                        On the cover: “To Ralph with cordial regards, Lee.”

                    Weber, Harold. “’Comic Humour and Tragic Spirit:’ The Augustan Distinction

                                        Between Horace and Juvenal.” Reprinted from Classical and Modern

                                        Literature: A Quarterly 1, no. 4 (Summer 1981): 275-289.

                                        On the cover: “Best wishes, Harold Weber.”

                    Weber, Harold. “’The Jester and the Orator:’ A Re-examination of the Comic and

                                        the Tragic Satirist.” Reprinted from Genre 13 (Summer 1980): 171-185.

                                        On the front: “Ralph, it was good to see you in L.A. Best wishes, Harold.”

                    Wesling, Donald. “Augustan Form: Justification and Breakup of a Period Style.”

                                        Reprint from Texas Studies in Literature and Language 22, no. 3:

                                        (Fall 1980): 394-428.

                                        On the cover: “Ralph Cohen from Donald Wesling 1 January 1981.”

                    Willison, I. R. On the History of Libraries and Scholarship. Washington, D.C.:

                                        Library of Congress, 1980.

                                        On the first page: “To Ralph and Libby, with the best wishes of

                                        the author IRW 20-1-81.”

                                        Also enclosed within the book was a handwritten note from author

                                        and a correlating advertisement for a journal called Annals of


                    Wimsatt, Jr., W. K. “What to Say About a Poem.” Reprinted from College

                                        English (February 1963): 377-383.

                                        On the front: “Ralph Cohen regards from WK Wimsatt Jr. 6 May 1963,”

                                        along with other annotations.

                                        Accompanied by:

                                        Wimsatt, Jr., W. K. “Review: Untitled.” Reprinted from The Journal of English

                                        and German Philology 61, no. 1 (January 1962): 141-144.


              Cohen, Ralph. Philosophy and Criticism: The Challenge of Discipline. 1961.                                                    2: 1

                                        A lecture given at The University of Utah as part of the Advancement

                                        of Learning series in recognition of achievements in graduate