Nuntio mortis conturbat me: Professor Alan Deyermond, RIP

Alan Deyermond, photographed for the Asociación Internacional de Hispanistas

Alan Deyermond, photographed for the Asociación Internacional de Hispanistas

In the midst of life we are in death. On Friday 18 September I happened to come round a corner just in time to witness the death of a honeybee that hadn’t stopped to wonder what that eight-legged thing was doing apparently suspended in mid-air next to its desired flightpath. The resultant mortal combat was viciously quick. Now, as I begin this post on the 21st, I do so because news has just reached me of the death of Alan Deyermond, Professor Emeritus of Medieval Spanish Literature at Queen Mary University of London, Fellow of the British Academy and Corresponding Fellow of the Real Academia Española, who passed away in hospital after several months of illness, the day after I watched the bee die, 19th September.

I didn’t know Professor Deyermond well, I only met him at a conference I attended that he’d organised at Queen Mary University of London, at whose various incarnations he’d taught all his professional life, but even then he was full of energy, interest in other people’s work and a worship of accuracy forever warring with his strong spirit of fun. I imagine he would have been an excellent if sometimes scary teacher. His Wikipedia page, already suitably updated, has a bibliography that shows his importance was not just as a teacher, either, and that only tells a part of the story because, as well as not containing his articles, it doesn’t give much clue to the vast amount of work by others that he elicited, encouraged, edited and saw to publication in the Papers of the Medieval Hispanic Research Seminar series that he founded, including of course my own. He was a renowned man (the sort of person whom people get photographed with for their blogs). There aren’t enough people like Professor Deyermond, and now there is one fewer. Dammit.

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8 responses to “Nuntio mortis conturbat me: Professor Alan Deyermond, RIP

  1. María T. Narváez

    I am deeply sorry by the passing of Alan Deyermond. A most distinguished scholar, he will also be missed by his collegues for his wonderful warmth and geeerosity. As I was a graduate student he answered by mail all my inqueries on La Celestina. Later on, we met at several Symposiums and he was always generous and willing tp take his time to read and comment my graduate student’s works. Thank you, dear Alan, Magister and friend.

  2. Stephen Stannard

    I too was saddened to hear of Alan’s recent death. I was a Hispanic Studies undergraduate at QMW from 1992, and Alan gave a Lecture and Seminar in Golden Age Poetry in a first year core module. Until that point Poetry (any kind) had not really caught my interest, and despite the genuinely engaging Lecture and Seminar, my resulting Essay for Prof Deyermond showed that. However, as one of only two Lecturers in the department at the time who *only* handed back essays at a 1-1 appointment, I was lucky enough to experience Prof Deyermond’s thoughtful, considerate and engaging approach. He engaged me in a way that was something of a revelation. It was obviously successful and I went from barely a pass in my first essay on Poetry to several Firsts. Granted, I was never going pursue Poetry, of any age, with the same enthusiasm as other disciplines. But Alan’s personal and academic skills and warmth enabled me to better appreciate something that I would otherwise have probably missed.

  3. Florie Maybrick

    The breaking of so great a thing should make a greater crack.
    An exceptional teacher, a wonderful scholar, kind, sweet, thoughtful, funny and abundantly patient (except when he wasn’t).
    I’ll miss him forever.

  4. Liz Emmerson

    I have only just learned of the death of Alan Deyermond who so patiently put up with me as a student at Westfield from ’62 to ’65. He was an inspiring teacher and I’ll never forget his sherry parties. He will be so badly missed by so many whose lives he touched.

  5. Pingback: Name in prints II & VI part two: where to buy my works « A Corner of Tenth-Century Europe

  6. Rosemary Chestnutt

    so sad not to have thanked professor deyermond for all his kindness and patience with me. I was a mediocre student but he always treated me with such reapect -so humble and kind. He always provided the biscuits and the coffee.

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