Renato Poggioli, Curt Hugo Reisinger Professor of Slavic and Comparative Literature and one of the country's leading Slavic scholars, died Friday at Crescent City Hospital, California, as a result of injuries received in an automobile accident last Monday. He was 56 years old.
Poggioli, his wife and daughter were traveling to Reed College in Portland, Ore., after spending the current academic year at Stanford University where Poggioli was doing research as a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.
Memorial services will be held at 2:15 p.m. Friday, in Memorial Church. Samuel H. Miler, John Lord O'Brian Professor of Divinity and Dean of the Faculty of Divinity, will lead the service.
Fluent in Russian, Polish, French, English, and Italian, Poggioli was considered a leading authority on Russian literature. His book, "The Poets of Russia, 1890-1930," won the 1960 Faculty Prize of the Harvard University Press for the most distinguished contribution to scholarship published among its works that year.
An earlier volume, 'The Phoenix and the Spider," dealt with Russian writers.
His latest book, "The Theory of the Advanced Guard," published in Italian this year, will soon be printed in English by the Harvard University Press.
A native of Florence, Italy, Poggioli received the D.Litt. degree from the University of Florence in 1929. He taught at Florence and at Wine and Warsaw in Poland before coming to the United States.
A visiting professor of Romance language and literatures at Smith College in 1938, he joined the Brown University faculty the following year, coming to Harvard in 1947. On Sabbatical leave from the University, he was to return in the fall.
Poggioli's wife and daughter survived the accident, but Mrs. Poggioli remains in the hospital critically hurt. His daughter, Silvia, was not seriously injured and has been released.