About Leo Damrosch

Leo Damrosch spent his boyhood in the mountains of the Philippines. He was born in 1941 in Manila where his parents were Episcopalian missionaries. Three months later the war arrived and the family was interned with 1,500 other foreigners in the Los Baños prison camp in Luzon. In 1945 they were liberated by a dramatic airborne operation. After the family’s return to the U.S. in 1950, they lived in various towns in Maine.

Educated at Yale (BA summa cum laude, 1963), Trinity College, Cambridge (Marshall Scholar, first class honors, 1966), and Princeton (PhD, 1968), he taught in the English departments at the University of Virginia (1966-83), University of Maryland at College Park (1983-89), and since 1989 at Harvard where he is now a Research Professor.

His most recent books are Tocqueville’s Discovery of America (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010) and Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World (Yale University Press, 2013), winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in biography, and one of two finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in biography. He is also author of the biography Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Restless Genius (Houghton Mifflin), a National Book Award Finalist for nonfiction and winner of the Winship/PEN New England Award for nonfiction. He is also author of seven academic books on literary and historical subjects.

He has four sons, and lives in Newton, Massachusetts with his wife, Joyce Van Dyke, and their youngest son, Nicholas.

Leo Damrosch, Department of English,
Harvard University, Cambridge MA 02138

damrosch (at) fas.harvard.edu