April 16, 2009 — Hugh MacCullough Davidson, 91, died April 10 in Charlottesville. He joined the University of Virginia faculty in 1973 and was named Commonwealth Professor of French Literature, becoming professor emeritus when he retired in 1993.
He had several visiting professorships, most notably as a Thomas Jefferson Fellow at Downing College, Cambridge University, from 1979 until 1980, and at La Sorbonne from 1982 until 1983. His studies and travels in Europe, especially France, were facilitated by Fulbright and Humanities Foundation fellowships.
An expert on French literature of the 17th and 18th centuries, he published several books, including "Audience, Words and Art," and gave many international presentations. A favorite subject was Blaise Pascal, a French mathematician, physicist, philosopher and religious thinker, about whom Davidson wrote, "The Origins of Certainty: Means and Meanings in Pascal's Pensées" and "Pascal and the Arts of the Mind."
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Department of French, University of Virginia, at the U.Va. Fund, P.O. Box 400314, Charlottesville, VA 22904. Please specify in memory of Hugh M. Davidson.