Baudelaire expert James Patty has died

James Patty
James Patty (Photo courtesy of the Department of French and Italian/Vanderbilt)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – James S. Patty, who helped found the W.T. Bandy Center for Baudelaire and Modern French Studies at Vanderbilt University, died Aug. 25. He was 87.

A reception in Patty’s memory is scheduled 4:30 to 6 p.m. Sept. 6 at the University Club of Nashville (2402 Garland Ave.).

Born in Florence, Ala., Patty earned his undergraduate, master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of North Carolina. Before beginning his career at Vanderbilt in 1964, he worked at the University of Colorado, University of Tennessee-Knoxville and Washington and Lee University.

Patty’s interests in 19th century French literature were wide ranging. His courses taught at Vanderbilt included elementary and intermediate French, French literature and how the French view America. He also wrote about the influence of Albrecht Dürer of Germany and Italian Salvador Rosa on French literature.

The W.T. Bandy Center for Baudelaire Studies was founded in 1968 by the College of Arts and Science as a joint project between the Department of French and Italian and the Jean and Alexander Heard Library. Its core was the personal collection of the Baudelaire scholar William Thomas Bandy. The W.T. Bandy Center’s name was changed in 1998 to The W.T. Bandy Center for Baudelaire and Modern French Studies, reflecting the enhanced scope of the collections.

Patty was named professor of French, emeritus, in 1988.

Survivors include cousins Ellen Dawson of Silver Springs, Md., and Frances P. Madison of Brookville, Miss.