J. Lyndon Shanley, 86, professor emeritus of English, died on Oct. 22  at the Wagner Health Center in Evanston after a long illness. He had been a resident of The Georgian in Evanston since 1984.
Professor Shanley was born July 3, 1910 in Allenhurst, N.J. He attended Phillips Exeter Academy in the class of 1928 and received both a bachelor's degree in 1932 and a Ph.D. in English in 1937 from Princeton University. He joined the Northwest-ern faculty in 1936 and remained until his retirement in 1978. From 1946 to 1976 he was first assistant, and then associate, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
His most important scholarship concerned the work of Henry David Thoreau. In 1957, the University of Chicago Press published his study, "The Making of Walden." He was also the editor of the Walden volume published by Princeton University Press in 1971. In 1958-59 he was president of The Thoreau Society of Concord, Mass.
Although by training a scholar of English Renaissance literature, Professor Shanley's greatest contribution to the world of scholarship was in American literature. His meticulous examination during the 1950s of the manuscript of Henry David Thoreau's "Walden" revealed that this classic work had been written in eight different drafts over a period of almost a decade. He published the results of his Walden research in his book, "The Making of Walden," published by the Univer-sity of Chicago Press in 1957. Profes-sor Shanley's discovery fundamentally changed the way in which scholars view Walden, which, in light of his scholarship, emerges as one of the most crafted works in American literature.
The resulting awareness of Walden as a work that Thoreau painstakingly revised in the years after he left Walden Pond has also profoundly affected the way this work is taught in American colleges and universities.
Shanley Hall, a small building at 2031 Sheridan Road on the Evanston campus, was named after Professor Shanley in the 1940s. The professor's office overlooked the structure, now used for some student activities.
Professor Shanley married the late Barbara Smith Shanley in 1938. He is survived by a son, F. Sheppard of Evanston; a daughter, Mary Lyndon; a son-in-law, Frederick R. Chromey; and two grandchildren, Katherine and Anthony Chromey, of Poughkeepsie, N.Y. His brother, Richard N. (Rita) Shanley of Oceanport, N.J., and 10 nieces and nephews also survive him.
A memorial service will be held at a later date at Alice Millar Chapel at Northwestern University. Contri-butions may be made to the Barbara Smith Shanley Fellowship Fund at the department of art history.
Memorial service set for J. Lyndon Shanley
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14 at Alice Millar Chapel for J. Lyndon Shanley, professor emeritus of English. Mr. Shanley, who joined the faculty in 1936, died Oct. 22 at the Wagner Health Center in Evanston after a long illness.