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Updated 10:00 AM September 21, 2009

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William Steinhoff

William Steinhoff, professor emeritus of English, died Sept. 2.

Born in 1914 in Chicago, he worked in the Civilian Conservation Corps before taking Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts and doctoral degrees, all at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1940 he married Rosannah Cannon, who died before him. Military service in World War II took him to Europe, Africa and India.

In 1948 he joined the Department of English at U-M, where he advanced through the ranks to full professor in 1963. He had a Ford Foundation Fellowship, a visiting professorship at the University of Aix-Marseilles and a Fulbright lectureship at both Gadjal Made University in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and at Comenius University in Bratislava. In 1993 he married Marilyn Mason, who survives him.

Steinhoff's scholarly interests were focused on George Eliot, Matthew Arnold, Anthony Trollope and George Orwell. His book on Orwell, "George Orwell and the Origins of 1984," won the U-M Press Award in 1976. Other interests included the training of teachers of composition; for several years he directed what was then called the Freshman English program. In the decade after his retirement he returned several times to teach the Freshman Seminars being offered by LSA.

Steinhoff — always "Bill" — "is remembered with praise," in the words of a former colleague. He was a friendly and generous man who knew when to bristle at foolishness. Colleagues and students alike valued his respect and were proud to have received it.

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