Un message du Directeur de La Maison Française, François Noudelmann:
Chères amies, Chers amis,
J'ai la tristesse de vous annoncer le décès de Tom Bishop. Figure tutélaire des études françaises à NYU, il a donné au département et à la Maison Française leur réputation internationale. Tom a été le grand passeur de la pensée et de la littérature en langue française aux États-Unis, et nous honorerons prochainement sa mémoire.
A message from Chairman of the Board of La Maison Française, Yann Coatanlem:
Over more than half a century, Tom Bishop made the Maison Française of NYU one of the most important French cultural centers in the United States. New York in particular lost one his best “passeurs” of French literature and culture.
Tom had a a very challenging start in life: when he was only 9, he and his family had to leave Vienna after Hitler’s invasion of Austria, and took refuge first in Paris (briefly, but long enough to forge a long time love for the French language), then in New York. After completing a PhD at Berkeley, he turned down an offer from Harvard and decided to join NYU and put all his energy in building the most vibrant French department in the whole United States. Champion of Nouveau Roman and avant-garde drama, he attracted many great artists and intellectuals like Genet, Beckett, Claude Simon, Nathalie Sarraute, Jean-Louis Barrault, Georges Blin, Eugene Ionesco. Tom was also an outstanding facilitator of French-American relationships, acting as an informal cultural ambassador on both sides of the Atlantic, bringing to New York notable personalities like François Mitterrand, Jacques Chirac, Lionel Jospin, Pierre Mendès-France, Robert Badinter and Jack Lang.
My thoughts and prayers also go to his dear wife, Helen, who died just 7 years ago, in January 2015.
To paraphrase Samuel Beckett, whom Tom admired so much: we cannot continue, one must continue, we will continue.
With best regards,
Read the family announcement in English
Lire l'annonce de la famille en français
Read Tom Bishop's obituary in Le Monde