February 22, 2023
Dear Members of Our Campus Community,
I am deeply saddened to share with you that Associate Professor Glyn Salton-Cox of our Department of English passed away on December 31, 2022.
Professor Salton-Cox joined our faculty in 2013. In addition to being a Professor of English, he also held affiliations with our Department of Feminist Studies and Department of History. He was known for his pioneering research and scholarship, and for his deep devotion to teaching and mentoring. In 2017, he was recognized by our English Department with an Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award.
Our hearts go out to his wife, Beth Sadler, and their family and friends, and to all those who were fortunate to work with him and learn from him. He will be greatly missed by our faculty, staff, students, and alumni. In his honor, our campus flag will be lowered tomorrow, February 23.
I am honored to share the following tribute from our colleagues in the English Department.
Glyn Salton-Cox (1983-2022)
With profound sadness, the English Department memorializes the late Glyn Salton-Cox, who passed away suddenly and unexpectedly one month ago. Our thoughts are with his wife, his parents, brother, sister-in-law and extended family in the United Kingdom, and with his many friends on both coasts of the US, in Britain and around the world, as well as his students, past and present. With all of them, we deeply mourn Glyn’s passing.
Glyn Salton-Cox came to UC Santa Barbara as an Assistant Professor of English nine years ago, a specialist in twentieth- and twenty-first century literature and culture. He arrived with an already glittering academic record: he earned his BA degree, and then an MPhil. in Criticism and Culture, from Kings College, Cambridge, followed by a PhD in English from Yale. At Cambridge he won the Rylands Prize for top performance in English; at Yale, the English Department Prize for the best published essay by a graduate student. At UC Santa Barbara, he soon became affiliated with the Departments of Feminist Studies and History, suggesting on the one hand, his deep and activist commitment to gender studies, and, second, his scholarly modus of extensive archival research to uncover previously marginalized figures and stories. In 2016, with a colleague in Film Studies, he co-organized an ambitious conference on one of his own intellectual heroes, the Hungarian Marxist theorist, literary critic and philosopher of aesthetics Georg Lukacs. His first book, Queer Communism and the Ministry of Love: Sexual Revolution in British Writing of the 1930s, was published by Edinburgh University Press in 2018; he was researching and writing his second monograph, on the lumpenproletariat, at the time of his death. Along with a Cambridge colleague, he guest-edited a special issue of Critical Quarterly on ‘The Long 1930’s.’ He has published numerous articles, essays and reviews, and spoken at all of the major conferences in his field on two continents, on topics ranging from the forms of queer communism in 30’s Britain to recent revisionist biographies of George Orwell. At UCSB, he taught graduate seminars on Marxism and queer theory, senior seminars on such topics as ‘Good Comrades and Splendid Creatures: Queer Leftists in Literary Culture,’ and popular undergraduate courses on urban literature, sexual revolutions and twentieth-century prose, and ‘British Comedy and the End of Empire.’ Promoted to Associate Professor in 2019, he directed or was a member of at least ten PhD dissertation committees. Glyn was awarded the English Department Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award in 2017. He was a stalwart member of COMMA, the Center on Modern Literature, Materialism and Aesthetics in the English Dept.
Glyn was a critic and writer of distinction. His academic research, written invariably with his characteristic brio and style, was noteworthy, first for the joy he took in rediscovering and celebrating writers whose political activism had led to their work being diminished or ignored, and second for his explorations of the ways in which sexual revolutions and political revolutions depended on each other and sustained each other. In his own field of 20th-century Anglophone letters, he worked to bring writers who had been marginalized for their queer sexuality and their radical politics the respect and prominence they deserved; the founding principle of his criticism was that the personal was always political. In his telling, people courageous enough to demand sexual freedom for themselves were the very ones to demand justice on many fronts for everyone. He was proud to have uncovered the political commitments and influences of figures who had often been dismissed even by the British left as mere eccentrics. His knowledge of German allowed him to trace complex webs of transmission by which the ideas of radical thinkers in Eastern Europe could reach those in the west, to be remolded by them. Here his archival enthusiasm was crucial, but it was always motivated by his determination to understand how the materialist analysis of social relations matters today. His latest work on the lumpenproletariat promised a major new reading of the cultural and political power of the wretched of the earth.
For his colleagues and students, his passing leaves a tremendous sense of loss. Here was a brilliant mind with so much more work to be done, ideas to be generated, important works to be published. Glyn will also be remembered as the kindest, the most convivial and the most generous of colleagues. Whether seated at the long table in the Department’s Research Commons poring over a book, explaining the intricacies of a New Left debate about a Grundrisse translation at a COMMA meeting, letting his students know that in their questioning of gender norms they had his full support, or simply modelling for all of us the pattern and possibilities for a committed, flexible, humorous and open-minded left intellectual in the US university and beyond, Glyn Salton-Cox was a brilliant scholar, a distinctive intellectual, and a writer who has left his own trace upon debates on British twentieth-century culture. A superb voice has been lost to us. We will not see his like again.
Henry T. Yang