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During this past year, I occasionally found small parcels of books deposited by Angela in my mailbox in East College or at my office door, volumes that she donated to me as she cleared her shelves and prepared to leave the country. She made such gifts to many others, as well. These fortuitous deliveries continued even during quarantine, when we had only sporadic access to our offices. Sometimes she gave them to me in person. Angela offered the books not in a hurried attempt to unload unwanted weight, but intentionally. Each book she gave to her friends embodied a memory of some past conversation about reading or teaching, a shared interest. I received from her, among many other things, Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Paul McAuley’s technological spy novel Whole Wide World, and Ted Rall’s graphic nonfiction account of Edward Snowden. I was touched by these casual gifts, which reflected not only Angela’s own eclectic interests but also a thoughtful appreciation of my own. Her generosity continued even until the last day I saw her in Greencastle, in June, when she gave me Oxford’s Very Short Introduction on humanism, as I left her apartment on Franklin Street for the last time.

My first meeting with Angela, more than seventeen years prior to the last, came in fall 2003, almost a full year before she came to DePauw, at the Midwest Modern Language Association Conference in Chicago. I did not know her, but the subject of her paper, Marxism and American billboards in the 1930s, caught my interest. I had just discussed James Agee with one of my classes, and I decided to attend her session. Her presentation was critically informed and original, synthesizing expertise in American political history, literature, and popular art. When Angela applied for a job at DePauw in spring 2004 and I saw her CV for the first time, I recognized her conference paper on socialist billboards, as well as an exciting spectrum of professional interests, including comparative literature, critical theory, and women’s studies. She completed her Bachelor’s degree at the University of California at Davis, in 1991, and her Doctorate, also at Davis, in 2000. I was excited when she got the position at DePauw, because I knew that she would bring the same intellectual depth and diversity of interests into our classrooms that I saw in her presentation in Chicago.

During her sixteen years here, Angela has offered some of the most innovative and challenging courses in our department, on subjects ranging from fashion in literature to spy fiction to crime fiction to the Penny Dreadful to film theory. She had a formative influence on DePauw’s World Literature program, which grew significantly under her leadership during the last several years. In all of her work, Angela has explored difficult ideas that sharpened the way her students read and understand aesthetics, modernity, and, perhaps most significantly, the relation between social class and art. She held her students to high standards, and did not hesitate to confront even inexperienced students with these ideas. One time, when we were discussing the appropriate level of theory to include in first-year seminar, she simply said to me: “Give them Foucault—why not?” She did not offer such suggestions flippantly but rather with respect for our students’ motivation and intelligence.

Angela’s students repaid her respect by doing their best work, often exceeding even their own expectations of themselves. She once showed me a book, given to her as gift and inscribed by two students whom Angela shepherded as English majors from first-year seminar to graduation. One student wrote: “You were the one who pushed me to be better, and was always someone I knew I could always count on. I will always remember the day that I told you I wanted to be an English major. I knew that you would help me focus my passion, a passion I wouldn’t have found without our first-year seminar together.” The second student wrote: “You’re the reason I know how to write. I can’t thank you enough for all the knowledge you’ve given me, and I’m excited to see where the future takes both of us.”

Unfortunately for Angela’s colleagues and our rising students, her future is in Germany, in Berlin, in the city she loves, near the people she loves—her parents, who live in southern Germany, and her son, Keith, who lives in Amsterdam. She was one of our most worldly colleagues, and she described herself as “cosmopolitan” in her perspective and taste. At the same time, she never thought of Greencastle or DePauw as too small for her, always manifesting great humility. She often sought advice from me or others in our department, though I have often felt that I needed to seek her advice, even in American literature, my own area of expertise. One afternoon, we sat in the Duck for hours discussing the “myth of American autodidacticism” (as she put it), ranging from Hawthorne and Dickens to Twain and Henry James. It was one of the most stimulating discussions of nineteenth-century novelists that I’ve had since graduate school. And I think I have appreciated both Henry James and Angela Flury better since that afternoon.

She has one of the most adventurous minds at DePauw, serving as editor of the journal Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture, where she has published essays on the theory of translation. She has also published original English translations of German writers, including Christa Wolf and Albrecht Selge. Like many emeriti, Angela welcomes her retirement from teaching as an opportunity to pursue even more ambitious scholarly and creative projects. She plans to complete her novel in progress, Berlin Cards, and she has begun planning a definitive German translation of the Turkish Embassy Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, one of the great voices of the English Enlightenment.

Angela has also spoken of her interest in alternative education projects, outside of academia, perhaps serving Berlin’s immigrant and refugee communities. She has always believed that the study of literature, language, and writing, should not be reserved for the privileged class. For more than a year, between 1998 and 1999, she worked as a Volunteer Instructor at Solano State Prison in California while completing her degree at Davis. She cites her own experience as a single mother, providing for her own education and that of her son, as the foundation for her profound commitment to equity and class consciousness as a foundation of her work as a teacher.

Personally, I most look forward to reading Berlin Cards. Angela and I often passed happy hours at the Duck in a kind of speculative parlor game associating people we knew with authors or fictional characters from the nineteenth century. In this game, I could never quite place Angela herself, maybe because she seems too modern for the nineteenth century. Perhaps she’s one of those knowing women from a novel by Henry James or Edith Wharton, who navigate complex social strata, in this country or another, with an acute and empowering self-awareness. Perhaps, though, she’s not a character but rather a narrative style common in nineteenth-century novels, a voice that critics call “free indirect discourse,” which allows a novelist both to share the position of her characters and to transcend them, so that she may describe the larger social world they inhabit. Angela’s book donations suggest to me that she has a similar way of reading people, of understanding them not from an authorial position of “omniscience” but rather from one of sympathy. In our game, she said I was Walt Whitman, which I took as a great compliment—but then she added, wryly: “You’re so American.” I laughed and thanked her.

-Tribute by Harry Brown