Marjorie H. Nicolson

Marjorie H. Nicolson books and biography

Marjorie Hope Nicolson

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Marjorie Hope Nicolson (1894–1981), was born February 18, 1894 in Yonkers, New York, USA, the daughter of Charles Butler Nicolson, editor-in-chief of the Detroit Free Press during World War I and later that paper's correspondent in Washington, DC, and Lissie Hope Morris.

She graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. degree in 1914, followed by her M.A. in 1918. Afterwards, she attended Yale, where she received a Ph.D. in 1920, followed by post-doc work at Johns Hopkins from 1923-1926.

Nicolson worked for her father at the newspaper for a while, as a drama critic, before becoming dean and professor at Smith College from 1929-1941. She left when she was hired as the first female graduate school professor at Columbia University, where she remained until 1962, eventually becoming chairman of the graduate department of English and Comparative Literature.

In 1940, she became the first woman president of Phi Beta Kappa. She was also president of the Modern Language Association in 1963.

An authority on 17th-century literature and thought, she was the author of numerous books, listed below. She was awarded the Pilgrim Award from the Science Fiction Research Association in 1971 for her pioneering work in the relationship between science and literature.

She died on March 9, 1981 in White Plains, NY.


  • The Art of Description, F.S. Crofts & Co., (1937)
  • Newton Demands the Muse: Newton's Opticks and the Eighteenth Century Poets, Princeton University Press, (1946), (1966)
  • Voyages to the Moon, Macmillan Co., (1948)
  • The Breaking of the Circle, (1950)
  • Science and Imagination, (1956); Archon Books, (1976)
  • Mountain Gloom and Mountain Glory: The Development of the Aesthetics of the Infinite, (1959); University of Washington Press, (1997)
  • A Reader's Guide to John Milton, (1963); Syracuse University Press, (1998)
  • Pepys' Diary and the New Science, (1965)
  • Books are Not Dead Things, College of William and Mary, (1966)
  • "This Long Disease, My Life": Alexander Pope and the Sciences, Princeton University Press, (1968)
  • John Milton: A Reader's Guide to His Poetry, Octagon Books, (1971)
  • The Conway Letters: The Correspondence of Anne, Viscountess Conway, Henry More and Their Friends, 1642-1684, ed. by Marjorie Hope Nicolson, Oxford University Press, (1992)
  • The Virtuoso, by Thomas Shadwell, ed. by Marjorie Hope Nicolson & David Stuart Rodes, University of Nebraska Press, (1992)
  • Zephyr and Boreas: Winds of Change in the Fiction of Ursula K. Le Guin: A Festschrift in Memory of Pilgrim Award Winner, Marjorie Hope Nicolson, ed. by George Edgar Slusser & Robert Reginald. San Bernardino
  • Two Voices, n.d.

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