Philip Carroll McGuire
August 23, 1940 – September 2, 2020
Professor Emeritus of English, Michigan State University.
Departed for what Shakespeare calls ‘the undiscovered country from whose bourn/ No traveler returns’ on September 2nd, age 80. He joined MSU’s Department of English in September 1966, and retired nearly 40 years later, in January, 2006. He was twice a visiting professor in England, first at the University of Lancaster (1970-71), later (1988) at the Roehampton Institute of Higher Education London. His areas of specialization were lyric poetry of the English Renaissance and the drama of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. He was the author of two books on Shakespearean plays (and co-editor of a third) as well as numerous journal articles, essays in anthologies, book reviews and conference presentations. From 1994-97, he served as interim chairperson of the MSU Department of English. His professional accomplishments included a nomination for the US Professor of the Year Award (1997), a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (1990) and a Folger Shakespeare Library Fellowship (1970).
Born in Pittsburgh, PA on August 23, 1940, Philip was a graduate of Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School (1958). He received his B.A. (summa cum laude) from La Salle College in Philadelphia in 1962, and his M.A. (1965) and Ph.D (1968) from Stanford University. Preceded in death by his parents, Paul and Dorothy and brother, Paul Jr. He is survived by his beloved wife, Penelope; daughter, Lucy (Neale); son, Emmet; grandsons, Alexander and Charlie (Neale); sisters, Mollie (Huitema) and Brenda (Duncan); and brothers, David, Joseph, Mark and Vincent.
A memorial service will be held at the MSU Horticultural Gardens at 4pm on Thursday September 10th.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that memorial donations be made to MSU Libraries in memory of Dr. Philip McGuire to support the McGuire Shakespearian Studies Endowment AB020895. Gifts may also be made by visiting givingto.msu.edu/9362. Alternatively please support Sparrow Hospice Services https://www.sparrowfoundation.org/give
The readiness is all
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Philip Carroll McGuire
September 5, 2020
Philip and I go back to the fall of 1962, our first quarter as graduate students at Stanford. For two of our years there we shared a group house with friends at 211 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto. We referred to ourselves as 211 even after our move to Menlo Park. In hindsight, 211 was a collective effort to hold adulthood at bay--pretty successful while it lasted. We created our own brand of wit that still surfaces when we talk to one another.
Philip and I bonded during three transcontinental road trips. We never drove the same route twice. Once, in Death Valley, we were caught in what must have been the wind-sand-and-thunder storm of at least a half-century. Boulders washed across the road. It was September, but to cheer ourselves up we began singing Christmas carols, each of us off-key in different registers.
He knew suffering, and it made him sensitive to others' misfortune. Seven years ago, deep into my wife's Parkinson's, Philip sensed that I was down and offered weekly phone calls. These became a source of solace to both of us, as we endured our respective tribulations. In the course of one of these conversations, he said he had been born dead, or so a nurse coming out of the delivery room had told his pediatrician father, who rushed in and breathed life into his infant son. Last June, after Philip's medical team had informed him that all they could offer was palliative care, he told me he had no complaint: he'd been playing with house money for eighty years. He faced his last illness as he had all the health issues that went before it, calmly, resolutely. "We must endure our going hence even as our coming hither" might have been, indeed was, his watchword.
The 211ers held a series of Zoom meetings with Philip during his final two months. Painful as it was to witness his decline, we all felt that it was a privilege to accompany our gallant friend on his last journey.