In memoriam: Seymour Chatman


Nov 24, 2015

The memorial will be held Friday, February 12th, at 5:30 pm in Morrison Library at UC Berkeley.


Seymour Chatman (1928-2015)
Professor Emeritus, Department of Rhetoric

When I arrived in the Rhetoric Department as an Acting Assistant Professor in 1972, Seymour Chatman’s name was one of the few that I recognized. Already a highly distinguished scholar, his work in narratology and structuralism had influenced my own graduate work on oral narrative (epic, legend, and folklore). I found him to be a generous colleague, always willing to encourage and help graduate students and junior faculty, and the senior faculty member who best understood my own work on the structure of traditional oral texts. I was inspired by the success of his course, "Novel into Film," to offer my own course years later in Arthurian Film, and I have used his book "Story and Discourse" in all the historical and theoretical courses I have taught at Berkeley. Seymour’s interest in film was also, of course, part of the beginnings of what is now the Department of Film and Media, and his focus on exposing the use of theory in literary scholarship certainly contributed to the ultimate genesis the current program in Critical Theory.
Although able to argue ideas with fierce intensity, Seymour was a genial and often amusing presence in the sterile confines of Dwinelle Hall, as well as being a notable scholar and inspiring teacher.

Daniel F. Melia


In lieu of flowers or gifts, donations may be made in Seymour’s name to:

The North Berkeley Senior Center
Att: Donations
1901 Hearst Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94709


UCSF Aging And Memory Center

Please feel free to visit the following link to the family’s page:!/Obituary