The European Society for the Study of English mourns the death of Queen Elizabeth II, who died on September 8, 2022, aged 96. She was the longest serving monarch the United Kingdom has ever seen. Her death ended a rule of 70 years that saw 15 prime ministers from Winston Churchill to Boris Johnson and, finally, to Liz Truss, whom she formally invited to become prime minster only two days before her death. Her son Charles succeeds her on the throne and will now be known as King Charles III. In a statement, he called the death of his mother “a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family,” adding that “her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.” ESSE is saddened by the news and wishes to express its deepest condolences to the Royal Family, the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. (mult.) Herbert Grabes (1936-2015) in Memoriam
This memoriam is composed on the basis of a memorial speech that I held in German at Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Herbert Grabes’s funeral service in December of 2015. An obituary written in German by my friend and former University of Giessen colleague Professor Ingo Berensmeyer flows into this text as do some of the recorded memories of several of Herbert Grabes’s former colleagues and friends.
My first experience of Herbert Grabes was as a distant admiring listener at a huge ESSE conference. I remember Professor Ansgar Nünning’s loving introduction of his senior colleague and my sense of how lively and interesting and erudite a speaker Herbert was. I subsequently got to know him personally at the beginning of my time at the University of Giessen in late 2008. In 2009, I had the honor of taking over his chair in American and British Studies at the University of Giessen. Filling his footsteps remains a large undertaking. It also marks a change of generations and also of style in German English and American Studies, with more women professors now holding chairs and with more native speakers of English now in the front lines as well. Herbert once told a younger woman relative that his successor was “some feminist,” but he met this feminist with a wonderful mixture of good will and also openness to change. It is an honor to remember his life here. This includes his multifaceted efforts at the University of Giessen as well as to promote American and English Studies in Germany, Europe, and beyond.
In the homage to Helmut Bonheim published in the Autumn 2015 edition of the European English Messenger, I stated that Professor Bonheim’s wife, Jean, had passed away shortly after his death (*). I have since been reliably informed that, though poorly, Mrs Bonheim is in fact still alive and residing in a care home in Germany. I deeply regret the error and the distress it will have caused her daughter, as well as the sadness the news will have provoked in colleagues who share the affection for the Bonheims felt by so many of us who were involved in the first phase of ESSE’s existence.
Martin A. Kayman
(*) ‘In Memoriam Helmut Bonheim (1930-2012)’, The European English Messenger, 24 (2): 31-39.