The Passing of Professor Donald Stone

From Glenn Burger, Chair, Department of English:

It is with deep regret that I announce the death of Donald Stone, retired professor in the English Department at Queens College. Donald had suffered a serious fall last May that left him quadriplegic and had been living in a nursing home after leaving hospital. He was 79.

Donald Stone arrived in the English Department at Queens College when it was expanding rapidly in the late 1960s. He graduated with his BA from the University of California-Berkeley and his PhD from Harvard University, where he worked with Jerome Buckley. Donald’s specialty was the Victorian novel and he authored several monographs on that subject, notably Novelists in a Changing World: Meredith, James, and the Transformation of the English Novel in the 1880s (Harvard University Press, 1972) and The Romantic Impulse in Victorian Fiction (Harvard University Press, 1980). His last book was Communications with the Future: Matthew Arnold in Dialogue (University of Michigan Press, 1997). He remained committed to Queens undergraduates, encouraging their applications to graduate work and remaining in touch long after they graduated. Donald was also famous for his deep knowledge of painting and drawing, assembling his own fine private collection over the years.

While he was still at Queens, Donald taught as a visiting professor at Peking Normal University, which became Beijing University, establishing a relationship that other Queens colleagues could take advantage of. After his retirement in 2007, Donald spent every fall semester teaching at Beijing University, where he taught many students who went on to academic careers in China and in the United States.

He was also an unofficial cultural ambassador during his time there. On learning that there was no museum of Western art in Beijing, Donald spent his summers scouring the galleries and print shops of London and Paris in order to buy dozens of prints and drawings for a museum which he helped to bring into existence on the Beijing University campus. Donald was very generous using his China connections, arranging for Queens colleagues to give lectures in Shanghai and Beijing.

There is no funeral planned, but it is hoped that an in-person memorial service will take place post-pandemic.