Eugene Genovese [and Elizabeth Fox-Genovese], R.I.P.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Robert P. George
Professor of Jurisprudence and founding director of the James Madison Program, Princeton University
Yesterday I lost a dear friend and the academic world lost one of its most gifted scholars and teachers: Eugene Genovese, the great historian of slavery and the American South. Although born into a Catholic family, Gene was for most of his adult life a [hard-core, Commie-Party-card-carrying] Marxist. Under the influence of his beloved wife [and colleague at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia] Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, an eminent historian in her own right and a late-in-life convert to the Catholic faith [by one her graduate students], he eventually returned to the Church. [His wife died in 2007, and he memorialized her in a 2009 book (see review below).] But even in his Marxist days, he was driven by a passion for truth—and it was that passion that eventually brought him out of the errors into which he had been led by a passion for justice. I tell a bit of the story in the above video of a tribute to Gene I gave at a conference at Princeton held in his honor a couple of years ago.