Bob, one of the most eminent and engaging members of the Princeton family, died peacefully April 20, 2021, of natural causes at his son’s home in Pau’uilo, Hawaii. His accomplishments ranged from managing Stan Rubin’s Tigertown Five as a freshman, helping to improve undergraduate food options as a member of the faculty, and — most famously — being celebrated as one of the world’s leading authorities on Dante Alighieri.

He was born July 31, 1933, in New York City, the son of Robert B. Hollander 1916, and studied at the Collegiate School. At Princeton he majored in modern languages, joined Cannon Club, and played IAA touch football, squash, and tennis. 

He later said that in a Ph.D. program at Columbia, while reading Dante for a paper, he slipped into a reverie, a dream-like experience. When he snapped out of it, he just knew that Dante was going to be his thing. Columbia wouldn’t hire him to teach Dante; Princeton did and he remained for 42 years, teaching and authoring 25 books. Undergraduates loved him, as did graduates, who packed his Dante seminars at Reunions and even at a rented castle in Tuscany. 

Hollander was predeceased by his wife, Jean, whose devotion to poetry and Shakespeare was a perfect pairing with Bob’s mastery of Dante’s Italian language. Florence honored the pair in 2008 with the Gold Florin for their translation of The Divine Comedy.

Bob is survived by children Robert III ’91 and daughter Cornelia, brother Fenton, and four grandchildren.

Undergraduate Class of 1955