The University Record, October 9, 1995

FACULTY AWARDS: James A. Winn, Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award

A man of high intelligence, great creativity, and unquenchable enthusiasm for almost everything he touches, James A. Winn is a talented teacher, writer, and musician, and a dedicated administrator.

Professor Winn has directed the Institute for the Humanities since its founding seven years ago. Under his leadership, the Institute has become an exciting and powerful intellectual presence on campus and nationally. Both programmatically and financially the Institute is on solid ground today because of the efforts of Professor Winn. The Institute brings exciting teaching and research to the campus; it fosters joint efforts by faculty in the arts and the social sciences with those in the more narrowly defined areas of the humanities, and it encourages the integration of performance and scholarship.

Directing the Humanities Institute is but one facet of Professor Winn’s rich and variegated career. He is internationally renowned for his biography of John Dryden, the poet laureate and seventeenth-century man of letters. John Dryden and His World won numerous awards, including the Christian Gauss Award and the British Humanities Council Prize. Perhaps most impressive is its nomination for a Pulitzer in Biography. Few books by academics attract such widespread attention and admiration from the general intellectual community, as well as from experts in the field. Professor Winn has authored four major books. The most recent, “When Beauty Fires the Blood”: Love and the Arts in the Age of Dryden, was published by the University of Michigan Press in 1992.

What characterizes all of Professor Winn’s work, and particularly Dryden’s biography, is his broad and exact command over the field of Augustan literature and history. Professor Winn’s authority as a literary scholar is complemented and extended by his unrivaled knowledge of late seventeenth-century English music. An outstanding flutist, Professor Winn’s ideas on the relationship between poetry and music have established him as a leading thinker in the area of sound and word synthesis.

Professor Winn teaches with fervor, responding to students’ written work with detailed comments and measured encouragement. He conducts extemporaneous discussions as seamlessly as other professors read written lectures. Professor Winn’s classroom style is supported by a sweeping knowledge of Restoration and eighteenth-century England, its literature, and its culture.

Since coming to the University in 1983, Professor Winn has served on many committees in the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies and in a variety of roles in the Department of English. As director of Graduate Studies in English, he raised money for summer fellowships for students and achieved the highest job placement record of any director of Graduate Studies in the English department in recent years.

In recognition of his brilliant scholarship, devotion to students, and unselfish service to the University, particularly to the Institute for the Humanities, the University bestows upon James Winn its Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award.