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Languages professor Mortimer Guiney dies

- March 17, 2008

Mortimer Guiney, a professor of modern and classical languages from 1965 to 1989, died Feb. 14 in Paris. He was 78.

Guiney specialized in 20th-century French literature, and taught at UConn for nearly 20 years.

“He was a lifelong Francophile who shared his love of France, its literature, and its people with his students, friends, and family,” says Patrick Guiney, his son.

“He was passionate about art, music, and lively conversation about any topic.”

Guiney was instrumental in creating the University’s Study Abroad program in Rouen, France in 1967, and led it many times.

He also helped create the comparative literature program.

T.A. Perry, emeritus professor of modern and classical languages, says Guiney was an expert on modern French poetry and a “dynamic teacher of students.”

Guiney’s contributions to the field of 20th-century French poetry include two books: La poésie de Pierre Reverdy and Cubisme et literature, and he has been published in both the French Review and Modern Language Journal.

Marvin Cox, associate professor of history emeritus, describes Guiney as a true rarity among American professors of French.

“He managed to have two careers: first, teaching French to students at UConn, and then teaching French students about their own culture,” Cox said.

“And in the course of both careers, he enriched the lives of those who knew him by combining learned discourse with great personal warmth.”

After retiring from UConn, he moved to Paris with his wife Eliane, who survives him.

“Mort will remain a legend to the many who knew him and learned with him and loved him,” says Perry.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by four children and three grandchildren.

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