Anne Attura Paolucci, Ph.D., author, scholar, professor, passed away on July 15 at New York Presbyterian Hospital after a short illness.
Paolucci was the author of over 20 books of plays, short stories, novels, poetry and essays. In memory of her late husband, Dr. Henry Paolucci, she edited over 30 of his books. Her last book, completed weeks before her death, was Henry Paolucci, – A Conservative for All Seasons – a history of Henry’s work as a founder of the NYS Conservative Party and his run for the United States Senate in 1964.
Paolucci was born in Rome in 1926 and settled with her family in New York at the age of eight. She attended New York public schools, Barnard College and Columbia University, where she won the first Woodbridge Honorary Fellowship, Department of English, for her Ph.D. thesis on Dante and Spenser. She was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Rome and returned to Italy as a Fulbright Lecturer in American Drama at the University of Naples. A guest of the Australian National University’s Research Centre in 1979, she also visited Yugoslavia at the invitation of that government and lectured extensively there as well as in Canada, England, Italy, Austria and the United States. She taught at The City College (CUNY) before joining the faculty of St. John’s University in New York as its first University Research Professor.
Paolucci wrote extensively on Pirandello, ancient and modern drama, Hegel, “Theater of the Absurd,” Edward Albee, and Shakespeare. Her book, From Tension to Tonic: The Plays of Edward Albee remains a classic in the field. Edward Albee: The Later Plays, was published in 2010. Pirandello’s Theater: The Recovery of the Modern Stage for Dramatic Art, was published in 1974. Her translation of Machiavelli’s masterpiece, Mandragola (with Henry Paolucci), in print since 1957, has gone through more than 40 printings. In 2002 she published translations of the poems of Giacomo Leopardi, a work which won her recognition and a cash prize from the Italian government.
In l970 she founded the Council on National Literatures, a non-profit educational foundation dedicated to promoting the expansion of comparative literary studies. For 32 years she continued to edit the Review of National Literatures (1970-2001) and, later, CNL/World Report (1976-2001.)
In 1986, President Ronald Reagan appointed her to the Council on the Humanities, where she continued to serve under the administrations of Presidents Bush and Clinton. She was chosen by Governor George Pataki in 1996 to serve on the Board of Trustees of CUNY and in 1997 was named chair of the board, a position from which she resigned in 1999 to devote her time to writing and publishing.
Paolucci has been honored with the title of “Commendatore” (Legion of Merit) by the Italian government and in 2008 received the Lifetime Achievement Award and Gold Medal of New York State Senate as well as recognition by the New York City Council. She was the first recipient of the National Elena Cornaro Award (OSIA, 1993) as well as the prestigious Golden Lion Award (Order Sons of Italy in America, 1997).
Paolucci is survived by niece, Azar Attura and nephews and nieces, her dear friends, Dolores Frank Cohen and Barney Cohen, Clara Sarrocco and Constance and Serphin Maltese. Her husband predeceased her in1999.
Arrangements were handled by the Frederick Funeral Home in Flushing. A Mass of Christian burial was held at St Luke’s R.C. Church.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to either The Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, or to Christ the King Regional High School, at 68-02 Metropolitan Avenue, Middle Village, NY 11379.