In Memoriam: Martha Banta 1928-2020

Martha Banta, Distinguished Professor of English, Emerita, at the University of California, Los Angeles, died on March 31, 2020 at her home in Pasadena, where she had been convalescing after a fall. She was 91 years old.

Dr. Banta held a bachelor’s degree and a Ph.D. from Indiana University. Before her career in academia, Dr. Banta worked as a copy editor for Harper’s Bazaar in New York City.

In 1954, Professor Banta joined the faculty at the University of California, Santa, Barbara. After six years, she took a faculty position at the University of Washington, where she taught for 13 years. Dr. Banta joined the faculty at UCLA in 1983 and retired from teaching in 1998. Professor Banta served as president of the American Studies Association from 1990-91 and as editor of PMLA, the journal of the Modern Language Association from 1997 to 2000.

Dr. Banta was the author of eight books and was working on two more at the time of her death. In 1987 she published the 844-page volume Imaging American Women: Ideas and Ideals in Cultural History (Columbia University Press). Her last published book was Henry James: An Alien’s “History” of America (Sapienza, 2016).

Filed Under: In Memoriam


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