UC Irvine English professor Richard F. Kroll, a major figure in Restoration and 18th century literary studies, died Feb. 5 after a prolonged battle with pneumonia. He was 56. Born in Kenya, Kroll joined the UCI faculty in 1992. His books, “The Material Word” and “The Circle of Commerce,” reshaped the field as they challenged accepted paradigms and helped open literary works to rhetorical, economic and political analysis. In 1999, students named him the Outstanding Professor in the Humanities — a testament to his dedication and teaching abilities.