Douglas A. Brooks, associate professor of English at Texas A&M University, editor of the Shakespeare Yearbook, and author of From Playhouse to Printing House: Drama and Authorship in Early Modern England, described by one of his students as “Best professor on the planet,” died this afternoon of the lung cancer that he had battled for eight months. He was fifty-two, and a fairly new father (his son Judah was born in December 2005). He can never be replaced.
Update. The official university obituary:
Douglas A. Brooks, 52, associate professor of English at Texas A&M University, died on Tuesday afternoon (Jan. 27). He was in treatment for cancer in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and was hospitalized at the time of his death.
The Department of English is planning a local memorial for Dr. Brooks, tentatively on Friday, Feb. 20.
Dr. Brooks came to Texas A&M in September 1997 [from Columbia University, where he earned his Ph.D.], and had been an English faculty member for 11 years. [Before earning his Ph.D., he had been a rabbinical student at Jewish Theological Seminary. Brooks was the grandson of the Yiddish writer Abraham Buchshteyn.] His area of concentration is early modern literature in English with focuses on drama, book history, and gender studies. A popular and engaging teacher, Dr. Brooks’s passion for the classroom had been recognized with two university teaching awards. He coordinated the Liberal Arts Honors Program for several years. In addition, Dr. Brooks spent countless hours mentoring students at Texas A&M.
A respected scholar, Dr. Brooks served as editor of the Shakespeare Yearbook, an international journal of Shakespeare scholarship. He had edited four books, authored 10 journal articles and 10 book chapters. He was working on a new manuscript at the time of his passing.
Dr. Brooks especially loved Shakespeare, and took great strides to introduce students to the English author. He was selected to deliver the very first Freshman Academic Convocation at Texas A&M in August 2003. The title of his presentation was “A Tale of Two Shakespeares.” He served as faculty advisor for the Texas A&M Shakespeare Festival during his 11 years at the university.
In an email to English majors, Dr. Jimmie Killingsworth, professor of English and head of the department said: “Like you, I was honored to know Douglas Brooks, to spend time in the glow of his brilliance, to hear his zany laugh, and have him as a close friend and colleague. We will all miss him.”
Update, II: M. Jimmie Killingsworth, head of the English department at Texas A&M University, has distributed a notice, asking anyone who wishes to write a note of condolence to address it to Douglas’s son, Judah Rosner, in care of him [killingsworth at tamu dot edu]. The notes will be gathered together and preserved with other memorabilia until Judah is old enough to read them for himself.