Milton Emont spent a lifetime as a student of 17th-century French literature. He taught advanced grammar for French majors, who might have first been intimidated by the demanding courses and Emont’s reputation for espousing meticulous, prescriptive grammar rules. But his classes quickly became favorites among Denison students. He met with them outside of class each week to help sort through any questions or difficult material. And it didn’t hurt that he had a legendary acerbic wit.
Monsieur Emont, as he came to be known at Denison, joined the modern languages department in 1954. His wife, Marietta, was an adjunct instructor in French and German at Denison as well. By the time the family arrived in Granville, Emont had already authored two instructor’s guides and a Teacher’s Manual for Beginning French for U.S. Armed Forces Institute courses.
Emont earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Montclair State College in 1943. From 1943-46, he served in the U.S. Signal Corps during World War II. He spent another year in France with Airline Communications at Orly Field, returning as a substitute teacher in the Jersey City schools. He completed a Master of Arts degree from Middlebury College in 1948 and spent a year in Grenoble, France, as a Fulbright Scholar before receiving his doctorate (and meeting Marietta) at the University of Wisconsin.
Emont’s publications on 17th-century French literature have appeared in the French Review, Revue des Sciences Humaines, and Dix-Septieme Seicle. He twice served as chair of the modern languages department at Denison and was awarded a Great Lakes Colleges Association humanities grant to continue his research on 17th-century French society in the novels of Charles Sorel. He also received the University of Wisconsin Markham Traveling Scholarship and the American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship, both of which enabled him to conduct research at the Bibliothéque nationale de France in Paris. He also taught a Summer Language Institute for 50 secondary school teachers of French and Spanish at Vanderbilt University.
Emont died on Jan. 21, 2018. He is preceded in death by his son, George, and his wife of 57 years, Marietta. Emont retired as emeritus professor of modern languages in 1988. He is survived by his son, Carl, and five grandchildren.
–Sheila Haar Siegel