Remembering Dr. Joe Gold

Retired English professor Joseph Gold died on January 13 at the age of 84.

Born in London, England, Gold joined the University of Waterloo in September 1970 after ten years at the University of Manitoba. He chaired the English department from 1970 to 1973.

Recognized as a leading world authority on the work of Charles Dickens, Gold’s research also focused on bibliotherapy – “that is, the use of literature as a psychotherapeutic agent and in the normal developmental stages of personal growth.”

In September 1972, his book The Stature of Dickens: A Centenary Bibliography became the 500,000th item added to the University of Waterloo Library’s catalogue.

In 1978 he was elected the president of the Temple Shalom Reform Congregation of Waterloo.

He also served on a number of departmental committees.

Gold retired from the University in January 1994.

An award in his name, The Joseph Gold Award for teaching English was established in 1996 as part of the Waterloo Regional English awards, given out to a teacher who demonstrated leadership, creativity and enthusiasm in teaching English.

In addition to his work as a professor of literature, with books published on Faulkner and Dickens, Gold was also a clinical member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists and wrote several books on the role of literature in human relations, including Read for your Life (1990) and The Story Species (2002).

“Reading fiction is not just entertainment,” Gold once said. “It changes people’s lives, how they think and feel and act.”

A memorial service will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 20 at Temple Shalom on Beechwood Drive in Waterloo followed by a Kiddush, memory-sharing and stories.

From the UWaterloo Daily Bulletin


One response to “Remembering Dr. Joe Gold

  1. Very sorry to hear this. Prof. Gold also was a Charles G.D. Roberts expert, and edited a formative collection of Roberts’ stories, King of Beasts and other Stories (Ryerson Press, 1967). First book of Roberts’ work I had ever read and I still have a copy. I recall Prof. Gold briefly speaking about Roberts’ fiction more than 30 years ago. And, of course, Gold’s bibliotherapy works are classics, very influential..

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