April 19, 2011 — Herbert "Chip" Tucker, John C. Coleman Professor of English in the University of Virginia's College of Arts & Sciences, is among the 212 new members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences announced today.
Some of the world's most accomplished leaders from academia, business, public affairs, the humanities and the arts have been elected members of the academy, one of the nation's most prestigious honorary societies and a leading center for independent policy research.
A list of new members is available at the academy's website.
Tucker is the 33rd U.Va. faculty member elected to the academy.
"This is quite an honor, and one that takes me entirely by surprise," Tucker said. "Not only does the academy include a number of the scholars here at U.Va. and elsewhere whom I most highly respect, but on top of that I'm delighted to be in the same entering class with Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Paul Simon."
"I am so delighted for Chip Tucker," said Cynthia Wall, who chairs the English department. "He well deserves this honor. He is one of the most elegant and erudite writers I've ever known, and he's an inspired and inspiring teacher and critic of poetry."
A scholar of 19th-century British literature, Tucker's most recent books are "Epic: Britain's Heroic Muse 1790-1910" and "Victorian Literature 1830-1900," for which he served as editor. He is also associate editor of the journal, New Literary History.
Last year, he put together a website, "For Better for Verse," which he describes as an interactive learning tool that can help students understand what makes metered poetry in English tick. In addition to helping college students, he said it could also be useful to high school and graduate students, and other teachers. Access to the website is free.
Tucker was also selected recently to receive a 2011-12 Fulbright-Leeds University Distinguished Chair Award to support his project on modern charm. He will be at the University of Leeds from August through February.
Among the 2011 American Academy of Arts and Sciences class are: jazz icon Brubeck; documentary filmmaker Ken Burns; Annette Gordon-Reed, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of books about Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings; singer-songwriter Simon; former Congressional Budget Office Director Robert Reischauer; actor Daniel Day-Lewis; and many distinguished professors.
The academy also elected 16 Foreign Honorary Members from Argentina, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Peru; Portugal, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
The new class will be inducted at an Oct. 1 ceremony at the academy's headquarters in Cambridge, Mass.
"It is a privilege to honor these men and women for their extraordinary individual accomplishments," academy president Leslie Berlowitz said. "The knowledge and expertise of our members give the academy a unique capacity – and responsibility – to provide practical policy solutions to the pressing challenges of the day. We look forward to engaging our new members in this work."
Since its founding in 1780 by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock and other scholar-patriots, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences has elected leading "thinkers and doers" from each generation, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the 19th, and Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill in the 20th.
The current membership of 4,000 fellows and 600 foreign honorary members includes more than 250 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize-winners.
The academy produces a quarterly journal, Dædalus, widely regarded as one of the world's leading intellectual journals.