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Michael L. Baumann ’50

Michael Leopold Baumann ’50, November 1, 2001, in Chico, California. Michael received a BA from Reed in general literature. From the University of Pennsylvania he earned an MA in 1956 and a PhD in 1971, in English literature. He taught English at the University of Arizona, at University of California, Santa Barbara, and at California State University–Chico, from which he retired as emeritus professor. Michael went to West Germany in 1978–80, accompanied by his wife, Friederike, as a Fulbright senior lecturer at the University of Erlangen. A bilingual scholar, Michael authored numerous publications in the field of literary scholarship and criticism in the U.S. and Europe. His interest in B. Traven spanned more than 30 years. (Traven, whose identity remains uncertain even after his death, was the author of numerous books, including The Secret of Sierra Madre.) "I became a Traven scholar because I fell in love with Traven’s humanism, with his American sense of humor, and with what appeared to me to be his essentially American literary heritage." Michael'a books on Traven include B. Traven: An Introduction (1976), and Mr. Traven, I Presume? (1997). Michael once noted that Reed was the best thing that happened to him, in so far as his education was concerned. "I learned to think (or believe I did) on my own."

Appeared in Reed magazine: November 2003

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