Paul Betz Professor in the Department of
English for many years, has chosen to retire from Georgetown at the end
of the Spring semester of 2007.
Prof. Betz grew up in rural Pennsylvania,
one of seven children. He earned his B.A. from La Salle College and
from there went to Cornell University where he met his wife Dorothy
Betz, and earned his M.A. and Ph.D. He joined the Georgetown English
Department in 1965 where he has been a prolific contributor to this
Paul’s research and teaching interests ever
since his graduate days focused upon Wordsworth and the Wordsworth
circle; 19th Century literature; lyric poetry; and textual
scholarship (editing, bibliography and literary forgery). His
publications include Cornell Wordsworth edition of Benjamin
the Waggoner (1981, revised 1989) a landmark reconstruction of a
virtually forgotten poem; and journal articles which include "After the
Lyrical Ballads: Wordsworth and Coleridge in 1801-1802" (1973) and
"Wordsworth's First Acquaintance with Blake's Poetry" (1970), "Pictures
for a Revolution: Ten Contemporary Images" (in Wordsworth in Context,
Paul has for many years been a
collector of manuscripts, rare books, and association objects related
primarily to Wordsworth and his circle, relying upon his knowledge and
ingenuity, as well as his patience and tenacity, rather than upon a
thick wallet. His remarkable successes over the years have led to a
personal collection which is now widely admired and four important books
have appeared to accompany special exhibits which Paul has prepared.
They include: British Romantic Art (with Jonathan Wordsworth and
Robert Metzger) (1990);Romantic Archaeologies: comprising Some
images of the age and Selected women writers
(1995); William Wordsworth and the Romantic Imagination (2000)
and Professor and Collector: a selection of books, manuscripts,
pictures and objects (2004).
A dedicated and enthusiastic
teacher, Paul Betz has since the early nineteen seventies taught in the
Liberal Arts Seminar, a special, nine-credit, two semester program for
first year students concentrating on the Nineteenth century. He was
also for many years teacher of the second semester of Sophomore English
Honors. Students in those programs will remember among many other
things Paul bringing items from his collection to class so that they
could examine first hand manuscripts and books which had come from the
writers they were reading. One student can speak for many,
"Professor Betz has the ability to inspire students to teach themselves.
He makes the intellectual life enjoyable. His interest in the literature
is infectious. Students want to be like him--to find something in their
lives about which they are as passionate as he is about Wordsworth."
Paul Betz received the College Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching
Prof. Betz tirelessly served
Georgetown throughout his forty two years at the University. He was
English Department Chair for six years [1978 – 1984], for many years a
member of the Faculty Senate and its President from 1991 – 1993, and
served as a member of the crucial University Rank and Tenure Committee
for five three year terms [1985 – 1993; 2000 – 2007], always as an
elected member from the Faculty Senate. He frequently acted as
recording and corresponding secretary for this Committee as well as
being for a time its Chair.
many years Paul served as President of the Wordsworth Trust America, and
he has been for a similarly long time a member of the Board of Directors
of the Dove Cottage, one of the world’s most important centers for
research in the work and period of Wordsworth.
April 25th colleagues, students, and friends of Prof. Betz
gathered in the Riggs Library to honor him and his years of selfless
dedication to Georgetown. English Department Chair Penn Szittya
introduced Jane McAuliffe, Dean of the College, Professors Joseph
Sitterson and John Brough, and Artemis Kirk, University Librarian, each
speaking on an aspect of Paul’s years at Georgetown. At the conclusion
of these proceedings Prof. Szittya announced that to commemorate Paul’s
years at Georgetown the English Department and the Faculty Senate had
directed that a tree be planted in his honor, along with a commemorative
plaque which includes, aptly, a quotation from Wordsworth.
Betz plans on continuing his University service. He’s active on the
Library Board of Directors and has turned his manuscript sleuthing
skills in new directions, recently obtaining for the library typescripts
of scripts by Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller’s The Death of a
Salesman, and John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation each
with significant connections to the authors or to people involved in
early stage productions.
and hearty at 67 Paul Betz can be counted on to be seen around campus
for years to come, when he can tear himself away from his steadily
expanding Maclean garden where, following in the traditions of his
father and grand father, he loves to make things grow.