The Passing of George Pistorius

To the Williams Community,

I am sad to report the death this weekend of George Pistorius, the Frank M. Gagliardi Professor of Romance Languages.

George and his wife Marie, who died last year, were part of the academic exodus from Europe spurred by mid-20th century political turmoil. Born in Prague, they escaped Czechoslovakia after World War II. Their decades-long journey led through Bavaria, Strasbourg, Paris, and Pennsylvania (where he earned his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania and taught at Lafayette College) before bringing them to Williams in 1963.

George’s old-world manners never left him, nor did his deep engagement with European intellectual and cultural life, advanced by his working knowledge of Czech, English, French, and German.

At Williams, he chaired the Romance languages department for 11 years. He was an active member of the Modern Language Association, and he wrote five books and numerous articles focused on 19th- and 20th-century French literature and 20th-century Franco-German literary relations. He retired in 1992.

We will relay information on arrangements when they are known. Meanwhile our thoughts are with his family.

Adam Falk