The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Professor emeritus dies at 86

Observer Staff Report | Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Joseph Brennan, professor emeritus of English, died in his South Bend home on Oct. 25. He was 86.

A funeral Mass was celebrated Monday in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, the University announced in a press release Tuesday.

Brennan taught at the University of Notre Dame from 1955 to 1993. The press release said he was a “soft-spoken” professor of American literature.

Among his students was University President Emeritus Fr. Edward “Monk” Malloy, who was an English major as an undergraduate and took two courses with Brennan.

In his autobiography, “Monk’s Tale,” Malloy called Brennan “one of the most articulate people I have ever met,” the press release said.

A native of Providence, R.I., Brennan graduated from Providence College, earned a master’s degree in English from Brown University and then obtained his doctorate from the University of Illinois.

Before coming to Notre Dame to teach, Brennan was a Fulbright scholar and did post-doctoral work at the Universita degli Studi in Florence and the University of Gottingen in Germany.

His wife, Sheilah, associate professor emerita of philosophy at Notre Dame, survives Brennan. He is also survived by his sons, Ciaran and Kevin, his brothers, James and William, and five grandsons.