Bezanker, Abraham (1919-1994)


Bezanker, Abraham (1919-1994)

Date Updated




Academic Rank


Year Retired from SJSU


Educational Background

University of Michigan, 1955 Ph.D.

Kalamazoo College, 1947 MA

Kalamazoo College, 1941 BA

Teaching Experience

San Jose State University, 1962-1988

Wayne University, 1951-1953

University of Michigan, 1947-1949

Administrative and Professional Experience

Technical Writer at Lockheed, Mountain View, CA, 1958‑1962.

Selected Publications

"The Odyssey of Saul Bellow," Yale Review, Spring 1969.

"An Introduction to the Problem of Allegory in Literary Criticism," Japan‑American Forum, 1970.

"I. B. Singer's Crises of Identity," Critique‑Studies in Modern Fiction, 1972.

Personal Commentary

Buzz died May 1, 1994, of longstanding Parkinson's disease, so as his widow I will do the best I can.

He was born of Russian‑Jewish refugee parents. He served over three years in Europe during World War II with part of his service in the Ambulance Corps of a MASH unit behind the Army lines. He was in the Battle of the Bulge. Some of his service in the Graves Registration Unit was so horrible that many veterans were unable ever to talk about it. I learned from his undertaker who had a similar army service.

Two incidents illustrate the appreciation of some of his San Jose State students. His Arab students invited us to a special dinner they had prepared in his honor, even though they knew he was a Jew. The second incident involved the last year of his teaching career when he was having difficulty speaking due to his Parkinson's disease. When his students learned he was quitting teaching because he had difficulty talking, a committee was formed to try to get him to teach an extra semester even though he had trouble talking and writing. When he retired, they bought him a sweater which he cherished.

Although born in Connecticut, he learned to love California and San Jose State University faculty and students.

Buzz was invited to participate in a seminar at Boca Raton, Florida, to honor I.B. Singer (1982). Beforehand I cautioned Buzz to speak as loudly and clearly as he could when he was delivering his tribute. Afterwards, Singer told Buzz that his speech was the only one he could hear!

Date Completed:9/96

Adapted from: Biographies of Retired Faculty San Jose State University 1997: A Project of the Emeritus Faculty Association of San Jose State University. San Jose, CA: The University, 1997.


Bezanker, Abraham (1919-1994)