In Memory of Werner Huber (1952–2016)

It is with great sadness that we have to report the passing away of Werner Huber, Professor of Irish Studies in the Department of English and American Studies at the University of Vienna on 28th April 2016. He leaves behind his wife, a daughter, and a step-daughter. His great sorrow at, indeed moments of rage and rebellion against, such an untimely death is shared by all who knew him.

Werner Huber, born on July 20, 1952, passed his Abitur in 1971 and then studied English and German at the universities of Mannheim, Amherst College, Mainz, and Trinity College Dublin. In 1980 he received his Ph.D. with a dissertation on James Stephens’s early novels (published in 1982). In 1980 he joined the Department of English at the University of Paderborn. After his Habilitation on Irish autobiographies of the 20th century (1995) he followed calls to Chemnitz and, in 2005, to Vienna.

Werner’s main research interest was Irish literature and culture, but he also published articles, collections of articles and books on a large variety of topics, e.g., English Romanticism (especially Byron and the Romantic novel), auto/biography and biofiction, the Princely Library of Castle Corvey on the Weser, contemporary British/anglophone drama, and recently also Film Studies. His list of publications comprises some 20 monographs and edited collections as well as c. 40 articles.

At Paderborn his position was that of an Assistent to professors Rolf Breuer and Rainer Schöwerling. For the latter, Werner soon became an invaluable collaborator in the so-called "Corvey-Projekt". Following a hint from Werner, Rainer Schöwerling recognized the great literary-historical importance of the private library of the Duke of Ratibor and Corvey with its 73.000 volumes, among them 2.600 novels in English, dating from what could loosely be called the Romantic era. We believe that we can speak for the late Rainer Schöwerling when we say that without Werner’s support – his erudition, meticulousness, tact, and energy – the project could not have been concluded as it was: with the two volumes of The English Novel 1770-1829: A Bibliographical Survey (OUP, 2000), compiled and edited by Peter Garside, James Raven, and Rainer Schöwerling. Werner’s decisive contribution to the enterprise can be inferred from the collection of essays The Corvey Library and Anglo-German Cultural Exchanges 1770-1837 (2004). And so, over the years, Werner Huber became an expert on English Romanticism – better perhaps, because of his Irish interest, on Romanticism of the British Isles. In this context he took over several positions and functions in the German Gesellschaft für englische Romantik.

Our greatest area of common interest, however, was Ireland, and Samuel Beckett in particular. Werner Huber came to Paderborn with the recommendation of his dissertation on James Stephens, supervised by Klaus Lubbers (Mainz), one of the leading German specialists in the field. No less an authority than Birgit Brambäck ended her review with the expression of her hope of a translation into English, an undertaking which, unfortunately, was never realized.

In his more than fifteen years as a research assistant and then assistant professor in the department at Paderborn, Werner was a benevolent and generous teacher, a respected colleague and, in the course of time, became a very good friend to both of us. We still consider ourselves amateurs – in both senses of the word – in all things Irish, but Werner knew everything, gave countless hints and suggestions, helped with the identification of our half-knowledge, and, beyond all that, he was the most conscientious of proof-readers – a true philologist in the best sense of the word. Both of us personally as well as all our publications with and even without Werner have profited from this love of language of his over many years.

Our most rewarding common interest was Samuel Beckett. Over several years we collected the monographs and articles on Beckett criticism in German, a project that resulted in a volume entitled Critique of Beckett Criticim: A Guide to Research in English, French and German by P.J. Murphy, Werner Huber, Rolf Breuer, and Konrad Schoell (Camden House, 1994). The climax of Werner Huber’s work at Paderborn was his Habilitationsschrift, "I was Ireland": Eine imagologische Studie zu irischen Autobiographien des 20. Jahrhunderts (1995). It is a well-known fact that a high percentage of Irish poets, writers and play-wrights published autobiographies, e. g., George Moore, William Butler Yeats, Sean O’Casey, James Joyce, Frank O’Connor, Liam O’Flaherty, Patrick Kavanagh or Edna O’Brien. The question, however, why this should be so, has never been coherently examined. This is the point of departure for Werner Huber’s monograph. His analyses of the autobiographies of the authors just listed are not content with a mere stocktaking of the factual side, but approach them with a literary interest, from an “imagological” point of view, examining images of identity and the metaphors and symbols with which the Irish identity defines itself against "the other", in these cases: the English.

Werner’s status as a world scholar in Irish literature and drama was borne out by various important positions he held: From 2000-2009 he served as a member of the executive board and as Vice Chair for Europe of the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures (IASIL). Werner also was a founding member and an Honorary Board Member of The European Federation of Associations and Centres of Irish Studies (EFACIS). Werner was a co-founder of the book series Irish Studies in Europe (ISE), and he also contributed to many advisory boards of such international journals in the field of Irish Studies world-wide as Litteraria Pragensia, Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, Irish Studies Review, and Irish University Review. His contribution and legacy to Irish studies was immense, and many publications and even whole book series would not have seen the light of day without Werner’s rigorous support and thoughtful guidance. Werner was the convenor of many international conferences, one of the highlights of which certainly was the 2009 international conference on “Ireland in/and Europe. Cross-Currents and Exchanges” in Vienna, which was memorably opened by a keynote lecture of Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney.

From 2001 to 2010, Werner also served as President of the German Society of Contemporary Theatre and Drama in English, better known under the heading CDE. The society prospered, developed, and grew steadily under his gentle aegis. He co-hosted the 1997 and 2009 conferences of CDE in Paderborn and Vienna and subsequently co-edited the ensuing annual volumes on Anthropological Perspectives (1998) and Staging Interculturality (2010).

In 2012, on the occasion of Werner’s sixtieth birthday, he received a Festschrift, entitled Ireland in Drama, Film, and Culture, co-edited by his esteemed Vienna colleague and friend Margarete Rubik and by Sandra Mayer and Julia Lajta-Novak, both of whom he supervised during their doctoral and post-doctoral work. His great impact on Irish and English Studies is not least documented in the consternation amongst colleagues and friends at his premature death and the innumerable expressions of condolence and sympathy that came from all over the world. The EFACIS conference in Palermo in June 2015 was the last conference Werner was able to attend. A special volume to be called Beyond Ireland: Boundaries, Passages, Transitions will be published in honour of Werner Huber in 2017.

Until the last two weeks of his life, we remained in constant contact, on the telephone, through e-mails, and even via Facebook – and every now and then we would receive notes about, hints at, or even a parcel with, the latest information concerning Beckett studies, paper clippings and other signs of his attachment. We shall sorely miss him, and the same is true of our wives, Cordula and Iris, and our children.

Werner was a scholar and a gentleman, and we are proud to honour his memory, his kindness, his humour, his integrity, and his immense knowledge. Our sadness about his death is equaled only by the pleasure to have known him and to be counted amongst his close friends. Our thoughts are with his family – Edith, Anna, and Katharina.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal,
That he may Rest in Peace.

Rolf Breuer (Paderborn)
Martin Middeke (Augsburg)

Prof. Dr. Kurt Otten (1926-2016)

Wenige Wochen nach seinem 90. Geburtstag verstarb am 23. April 2016 Prof. Dr. Kurt Otten, Emeritus für Englische Philologie. Die Fachbezeichnung “Philologie” verdient unterstrichen zu werden, denn Kurt Otten repräsentierte eine Anglisten-Generation, für die Literatur und Sprache noch eine unauflösliche Einheit bilden. Zu den von ihm attackierten Fehlentwicklungen der letzten Jahrzehnte gehörte die Verengung des Sprachunterrichts auf eine bloß kommunikative Kompetenz. In seinen ungemein anregenden Vorlesungen und Seminaren ebenso wie in seinen Publikationen zur englischen und amerikanischen Literatur hat er immer wieder am Beispiel von Schlüsselwörtern illustriert, in welchem Maße die Sprache den Zugang zu einer Kultur vermittelt.
Der England-Liebhaber war zugleich gegen chauvinistisch-nationalliterarische Verengungen gefeit. Von der Dissertation (Die Zeit in Gehalt und Gestalt der frühen Shakespeare-Dramen, 1954) über die Habilitationsschrift (König Alfreds Boethius, 1964) bis hin zur mehrbändigen Geschichte des englischen Romans und zahllosen Aufsätzen hat Otten Literatur stets als Medium eines Gesprächs über Epochen- und Ländergrenzen hinweg verstanden. Dabei ging es ihm neben einer im Goetheschen Sinne weltliterarischen Perspektive um die Schärfung des historischen Bewusstseins, insbesondere des Blicks für die uns bis heute prägende Kraft der Antike. Kein Altphilologe dürfte sich energischer und scharfsinniger als er für Latein als erste Fremdsprache am Gymnasium eingesetzt haben.
Darüber hinaus praktizierte er die vielbeschworene Einheit von Forschung und Lehre in einem über die gängige Vorstellung hinausgehenden Maße, indem er Literaturwissenschaft stets im Zusammenhang übergreifender Fragen nach dem Sinn von Erziehung, Kultur und Gesellschaft betrieb. Von seiner Dissertation bis zu den Aufsätzen über The Education of Henry Adams oder Haydns Schöpfung hat er Literatur und Literaturvermittlung als Kern eines umfassenden Erziehungsprojektes gesehen, das in einer technokratisch bestimmten Un-Kultur immer mehr gefährdet ist.
Der gebürtige Trierer wurde nach dem Notabitur 1944 zum Kriegsdienst eingezogen, verbrachte fast vier Jahre in französischer und englischer Gefangenschaft, ehe er das Studium der Fächer Englisch, Französisch und Latein in Tübingen aufnehmen konnte. Nach Staatsexamen, Referendariat und Promotion und führte seine akademische Karriere rasch über Habilitation (1962) und Gastprofessur (Hamburg, 1962) zur Übernahme eines Lehrstuhls für Englische Philologie in Marburg (1963). 1975 folgte er einem Ruf nach Heidelberg. Nicht zuletzt dank seines mit humorvollen Aperçus gespickten Vortragsstils wurden seine Vorlesungen oft zu Veranstaltungen für 'Hörer aller Fakultäten'.
Die hochschulpolitischen Turbulenzen der späten 60er und frühen 70er Jahre erfuhr er als eine fundamentale Krise des Bildungssystems, in der sich zugleich eine schwere Erschütterung der Gesellschaft insgesamt ausdrückte. Otten hat nie bestritten, dass die Ordinarienuniversität alten Stils schwere Mängel aufwies, was aber in der Folgezeit im Zeichen sogenannter Demokratisierung und Modernisierung von der Politik durchgesetzt wurde, stellte sich ihm als eine Katastrophe dar, die zur Nivellierung von Leistungsmaßstäben und einer Orientierungslosigkeit sondergleichen geführt hatte. Neben die wissenschaftlichen Publikationen traten deshalb seit dem Erscheinen der Hessischen Rahmenrichtlinien von 1972 zahlreiche temperamentvolle Beiträge zu Fragen des Curriculums in Schule und Hochschule (gesammelt in Die Maßlosen, die Arglosen und die Kopflosen, 1993).
Die Sorge um die produktive Bewahrung kultureller und sozialer Normen schlug sich auch immer mehr in seinen literaturwissenschaftlichen Kollegs nieder. Otten bot zehn Jahre nach seiner Emeritierung noch regelmäßig Seminare an. Er hat ca. 70 Dissertationen betreut, viele der von ihm Geförderten haben ihrerseits an Hochschulen Karriere gemacht und sich dafür mit zwei Festschriften bedankt (Studien zur englischen und amerikanischen Prosa, hg. Maria Diedrich und Christoph Schöneich, 1986; Erziehungsideale in englischsprachigen Literaturen, hg. Dieter Schulz und Thomas Kullmann, 1997). Der Umgang mit jungen Menschen und die Vermittlung von Literatur waren ihm stets ein existentielles Bedürfnis, das sich nach dem Tod seiner Frau Lieselotte eher noch verstärkte.
Den jüngeren Kollegen setzte er zuweilen mit Tiraden über den Untergang der Universität zu; schließlich hatten wir selbst, gewollt oder ungewollt, dazu beigetragen. In der Breite seiner Forschungen von der mittelalterlichen bis zur zeitgenössischen Literatur, mit seinem rückhaltlosen Einsatz für den wissenschaftlichen Nachwuchs, und nicht zuletzt dank seines unerschütterlichen Humors hat er immer wieder vorgeführt, in welchem Maße die Ausstrahlung eines Professors weder am Talent zur Drittmittelbeschaffung noch an 'Synergieeffekten' oder gar am 'Effektivieren' von Studiengängen hängt, dass sie vielmehr etwas mit Persönlichkeit und Geist zu tun hat.

Dieter Schulz

Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. (mult.) Herbert Grabes (1936-2015)

Der Anglistenverband trauert um sein Gründungs- und Ehrenmitglied Herbert Grabes, der nach kurzer schwerer Krankheit am 5. 12. 2015 im Alter von 79 Jahren in Gießen verstorben ist. Herbert Grabes war seit 1970 Professor für Englische und Amerikanische Literatur an der Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen, nachdem er 1962 in Köln im Fach Philosophie über Nicolai Hartmann promoviert wurde und sich 1969 in Mannheim für das Fach englische Philologie habilitierte. Mit Herbert Grabes verliert die deutsche Anglistik einen ihrer international profiliertesten Vertreter, dessen breit gefächertes Forschungsprofil von der englischen Frühneuzeitforschung über die Literatur- und Kulturtheorie bis hin zur amerikanischen Postmoderne und dem amerikanischen Drama und Theater reichte. Zu seinen zahlreichen Publikationen zählen Bücher zur Spiegelmetaphorik in der Literatur des 13. bis 17. Jahrhunderts ebenso wie zu den Romanen Vladimir Nabokovs, zur Fiktionstheorie und zur postmodernen Ästhetik. Bis zuletzt arbeitete er an einer Studie zur Geschichte der englischen Literaturgeschichtsschreibung. Er war Gründungsherausgeber des Yearbook of Research in English and American Literature (REAL)und des European Journal of English Studies (EJES). Von 1977 bis 1980 war er Präsident des Deutschen Anglistenverbands, den er mit begründet hatte und dem er stets eng verbunden blieb. Sein hohes internationales Engagement wurde durch die Ehrendoktorwürde der Universitäten Milwaukee und Bukarest ausgezeichnet; von den Vorbereitungen für die Verleihung eines weiteren Ehrendoktortitels durch die Universität Vilnius im nächsten Jahr, in dem er 80 Jahre alt geworden wäre, hat er nicht mehr erfahren.

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our founding and honorary member, Professor Herbert Grabes, who died on December 5, 2015, at the age of 79, after a brief but severe illness. Herbert Grabes had been Professor of English and American Literature at Justus Liebig University Giessen since 1970 after his dissertation in philosophy in Cologne in 1962 and his Habilitation in Mannheim in 1969. We mourn the loss of one of the most internationally recognised scholars of English and American literature in Germany. Herbert Grabes's many publications ranged from mirror imagery in medieval and Renaissance literature to the theory of fiction, from the novels of Vladimir Nabokov to postmodern aesthetics. Until his wholly unexpected death, he was working on a study of the history of literary historiography in England. He was founding editor of the Yearbook of Research in English and American Literature (REAL)and the European Journal of English Studies (EJES). From 1977 to 1980 he served as President of the German Association of University Professors of English, and he always maintained close links to the Association that he helped to found. His international recognition is best gauged by the two honorary doctorates, from the Universities of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and the University of Bucharest. A third honorary doctorate, from the University of Vilnius, was being suggested for next year, when we would have celebrated his eightieth birthday. Most sadly, news of this plan no longer reached him.

Emer. o.Univ.-Prof. Dr. Herbert Foltinek (1930-2015)

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our colleague Herbert Foltinek, who passed away peacefully in his sleep on September 18, 2015, at the age of 85.

Herbert Foltinek’s close association with our department had a long history. It began in 1949, when he started out here as a student of English and German. He subsequently, in 1954, completed a PhD on the poetry of T.S.Eliot and, after a year at the Österreichische Kulturinstitut in London, some teaching at the Institute of Translation Studies and two years as a lecturer at Downing College, Cambridge, rejoined the English Department as a post-doc assistant in 1959. He was awarded the Theodor-Körner Prize in 1961, which supported work on his Habilitation-project, a study on the early Victorian novel, which was published in 1968 as Vorstufen zum Viktorianischen Realismus. Der Englische Roman von Jane Austen bis Charles Dickens. In 1969 he was appointed Professor of English and American language and literature, and was immediately initiated into university administration by serving as head of department, not only of the English Department (a role which he was to take on many more times during his working life) but of the Institute of Translation Studies at the same time. Since then, while still active in administration, he continued his research and left his mark on generations of students who he taught in various areas of literary studies, British and American, poetry, prose and drama. Outside the department, he devoted a great deal of time to the Austrian Academy of Sciences (he was made associate member in 1973 and full member in 1980). For many years, he was head of the commission for literature there, and he continued to be co-editor of the periodicalSprachkunst, the forthcoming issue of which bears posthumous testimony to his meticulous editorial skill.

Herbert Foltinek took an active interest in developments in the English-speaking world throughout his life, and was a regular and critical reader of both The Times and The Guardian, frequently commenting on the increasing unreliability of their reporting. His interest in things British and American, however, started even before his student days: in the American sector of occupied Vienna, American libraries would provide him with plenty of reading material that was otherwise difficult to get hold of, and as someone who lived through the Second World War as a child and teenager, Britain always seemed to him to be a shining example of a truly democratic country. He went to Britain straight after leaving school in 1949, and because there was no other affordable way of going, he worked there as a farm labourer for a summer, collecting potatoes and parsnips and making his first British friends, some of whom he managed to keep in touch with until just before his death. As a student, he found more ways of learning about the English-speaking world: for some years, he worked as a travel guide for American tourists in Italy, and he was employed for some time at the Institute of European Studies and as a translator at the Forum Alpbach, where he had the opportunity to meet a host of interesting international students and scholars. Herbert Foltinek had a lifelong fondness for Cambridge University and especially the University library, where he loved to do his research in the summer months. He also made good use of the resources at the British Library in London, though he much preferred the old library in the British Museum to the new building on the Euston Road.

His most consistent literary interest during his career was in Victorian novels, in particular the work of Charles Dickens, and while his earlier research investigated motif, character and historical context, later publications turned to narratological studies of Dickens and, most recently, to the reception of  his fiction in Austria and German-speaking Switzerland. Many years of research and the careful reading and rereading of Dickens’ novels culminated in the publication of the book: Imagination All Compact: How Did Charles Dickens Compose his Novels? (2005) This major scholarly work is the study of how Dickens planned, crafted and developed his novels – a topic that Herbert Foltinek’s own analytical qualities made him particularly well qualified to address. This book, like his other extensive publications – on T.S. Eliot, on George Eliot, on genre in 18th century fiction, on the American novel, on World War I poetry, on comparative literature – is informed by the unusual intellectual exactitude and integrity that is evident in everything Herbert Foltinek did. He went out of his way to read up absolutely anything there was to read on a specific topic, and he applied the same scrupulous diligence to the preparation of his lectures and seminars, and in his editorial work, e.g. Susan Ferrier's 1818 novel Marriage, which he edited and introduced for Oxford University Press (1971) or collections of theoretical and narratological articles (Tales and "their telling differences", co-edited with Wolfgang Riehle and Waldemar Zacharasiewicz, 1993; Literaturwissenschaft: intermedial – interdisziplinär, co-edited with Christoph Leitgeb, 2002).

Herbert Foltinek was always an entirely dependable colleague with a keen sense of duty who always put students and department first. Unusual for someone of his generation, he was not interested in university politics and was not a member of any party or fraternity, subscribed to no institutionalized religious or political creed. He believed strongly that education and research should be impartial, independent of ideological affiliation. For most of his life, he was as robust in body as he was in mind: he was hardly ever sick and apologised profusely to his students on those rare occasions that he had to cancel a class. He was always generous with his time and his expertise, and many younger colleagues gained greatly from his advice. When he retired in 1998, he was far from inactive. He resumed his routine of coming to the department every day for many years, continued to advise and support colleagues, helped out in supervision and exams, and pursued his work for the Academy of Sciences. Until a short while before his death, his other commitments and his health allowing, he would not miss any social occasions. He was especially fond of carol singing at Christmas, and happily joined any anglophile activities the department would engage in. He was appreciated by his colleagues for his sharp wit, his astounding memory, his kindness and generosity, and his great sense of humour. He continued to be, what he had always been, a familiar, supportive and impressive presence in our departmental life. Now, in his absence, he will be much remembered and greatly missed.

Prof. Dr. Claus Uhlig (1936-2015)

 Mit großer Trauer und Betroffenheit musste das Marburger Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik im Januar 2015 Abschied von Prof. Dr. Claus Uhlig nehmen, der nach langer Krankheit im Alter von 78 Jahren verstarb. Claus Uhlig, geboren in Berlin, promovierte in Hamburg über das Thema Traditionelle Denkformen in Shakespeares tragischer Kunst (1966). Die Habilitationsschrift galt der Hofkritik im England des Mittelalters und der Renaissance (1973). Nach der Habilitation wurde Uhlig 1973 zum ordentlichen Professor an der Universität Hamburg ernannt, es folgte fünf Jahre später der Ruf an die Philipps-Universität Marburg, wo er bis zu seiner Emeritierung 2005 wirkte. Mit Claus Uhlig verlor die deutsche Anglistik einen angesehenen Wissenschaftler und eine besondere Persönlichkeit.

Prof. Dr. Rainer Schöwerling (1937-2014)

It is with great sadness that I have to report the passing away of Rainer Schöwerling, Pro-fessor Emeritus at the University of Paderborn, on 21 January 2014.1 Rainer Schöwerling was born in Hanover in 1937 and studied English and German at the universities of Göttingen and Marburg. He received his Ph.D. in 1967 and, soon after, became assistant professor of English at the University of Regensburg working under Karl-Heinz Göller. After his Habilitation in 1975, he was appointed Professor of English Literature at the University of Paderborn in 1978.


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