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Geoffrey Cox on Rick Gray

Submitted by Michael Neininger on June 29, 2017 - 10:22am
  • Rick Gray
    Rick Gray on the Guitar, High School Band
  • Geoffrey Cox
    Geoffrey Cox, Senior Editor at German Language Services, Guitarist at C'est la mort

(Dis)covering your bases

Apparently tireless (or at least always in motion), Rick Gray always seemed to shift effortlessly between multiple responsibilities: to his students (both undergrad and graduate), the department, teaching, and his own (staggeringly prolific) research. Rick inspired me as a thinker, a teacher, a writer and (above all) as a reader. His Kafka seminar may have been my favorite class in my graduate career, and I happily transposed what we learned in the very first session, two-plus hours spent entirely on a few lines from Die Verwandlung, onto pretty much every text I dealt with critically from that point forward. As my dissertation advisor, Rick pushed me to seek out and engage with the bigger issues, and he not only influenced how I approach literature, but also how I formulate (and discover) the guiding questions themselves. I also suspect that, as a rule, he not only reads the bibliography, but also everything in the bibliography, too. Rick always impressed me with how he balanced curiosity, thoroughness and intellectual rigor with a sly sense of humor, so I tried to come up with a catchy title for this (including parentheses-based wordplay, of course). I’m sure Rick will have some off-the-cuff suggestions, however, that will make me rethink everything entirely…

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