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Hyman Kleinman 1914-2014
Liberal Arts Faculty Member

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Hyman Kleinman, who taught literature at Juilliard from 1954 to 1968, died on July 9 at the age of 100. He is survived by his daughter, Nancy Dimsdale, son, Paul Kleinman, and three grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife.

Hyman Kleinman

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Kleinman, who was born in 1914 in Brooklyn, graduated from Brooklyn College in 1936 and did graduate work at Columbia. 

The author of The Religious Sonnets of Dylan Thomas: A Study in Imagery and Meaning, Kleinman listed among his favorite authors Malraux, Camus, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Graham Greene, Malamud, Unamuno, and Joseph Conrad. But his favorite book to read and teach, his daughter told The Journal, was Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain and while he would tell his classes that they would only spend a few weeks on it, they often spent the whole semester. Dimsdale also recounted the story of her father’s students getting the Juilliard Chorus and Orchestra together one year and recording Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” with new lyrics: “Unto us a son is born and his name shall be won-der-ful Klei-n-man.” She said that her father cherished the recording. 

In addition to his work at Juilliard, Kleinman taught at Columbia and, for 24 years, Sarah Lawrence. Although he retired from Sarah Lawrence in 1984, he taught a weekly literature class for adults in the community at the college’s library until this past November. He also received an honorary doctorate from the college as well as a lifetime achievement award from Brooklyn College.

Alums who have their own reminiscences of Hyman Kleinman are welcome to send them to us at journal@juilliard.edu or call us at (212) 799-5000, ext. 341.

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