Alex Gelley Gesturing with hand while smiling
Alexander Gelley passed away surrounded by his family on December 29, 2023. He was appointed at UCI in 1971-1972 as one of the founding members of the Program (now department) of Comparative Literature. He was a discerning and uncompromising literary theorist and one of the world's leading specialists on the work of Walter Benjamin. Upon the publication of Gelley's major work on Benjamin--Benjamin’s Passages: Dreaming, Awakening (Fordham, 2014)--Étienne Balibar said, “whoever thought to have understood Benjamin should pause and read Gelley first.” This is likely to remain good advice for a long time. Gelley played an important role establishing UCI as a leader in Critical Theory and mentored generations of Ph.D. students. He was a beloved colleague and inspiring interlocutor, whose attention to the world contained in every detail, wry humor, and ethical approach to the profession will be sorely missed.
Comparative Literature