- “Amigo de sus amigos . . . qué seso para discretos”: In Memoriam Alan David Deyermond
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In the preface to Hispanic Studies in Honor of Alan D. Deyermond: A North American Tribute, John S. Miletich explained that the volume was not a retirement homage for Alan, adding, “it would be difficult –really, impossible– to imagine him retired in any sense of the word” (1). Although Alan’s official retirement from Queen Mary College came in 1997, he in no sense retired from the world of Hispano-medievalism. Indeed, liberated from the administrative obligations of an academic position, Alan was able to dedicate himself entirely to the pursuits he loved: the dissemination of his research through publications and presentations; the continued success of the Medieval Hispanic Research Seminar, the annual Colloquium, and the publication of the Papers of the Hispanic Medieval Research Seminar; his frequent trips to Spain to attend conferences, participate in defenses and receive honors; and his contributions to the work of students and colleagues, both junior and senior, whether through written and oral critiques, extensive and meticulous editorial assistance, or words of encouragement over a glass of wine. His energy seemed boundless and his productivity endless, which is why as I sit in a hotel in St Albans writing these words over two weeks after his death, it still seems impossible that he’s gone. [End Page 7]
Alan was born in 1932 in Cairo, where he spent the first four years of his life. He learned to speak English and Arabic with equal ease, but lost his facility in the latter when he moved to England. He attended Quarry Bank High School in Liverpool, moving shortly after the war to the Channel Islands where he attended Victoria College in Jersey. He began his university studies at Pembroke College at Oxford by reading French and Spanish, finding a passion for Hispanomedieval studies in his final year. He thus pursued a B. Litt. in medieval Spanish literature under the direction of Peter Russell. At the age of twenty-four, he assumed the position of Assistant Lecturer at Westfield College and by 1969 held the title of Professor there. He had a deep loyalty and love for Westfield, which later merged with Queen Mary College and moved to Mile End Road, and he served his Department and College well as Senior Tutor, Director of Graduate Studies, Head of Department, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, and Vice Principal.
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The high esteem in which colleagues across Hispanic and medieval studies held Alan is reflected in the numerous accolades he earned. He served as President of the London Medieval Society (1970–74), the British Branch of [End Page 8] the International Courtly Literature Society (1974–77), the International Courtly Literature Society (1977–1983), and the Asociación Internacional de Hispanistas (1993–95). Among his many honors are: Corresponding Member, Hispanic Society of America (1973); Corresponding Fellow, Medieval Academy of America (1979); Académico Correspondiente, Real Academia de Buenas Letras de Barcelona, (1982); Honorary President, International Courtly Literature Society (1983); Member, Hispanic Society of America (1985); Socio de Honor, Asociación Hispánica de Literatura Medieval (1985); DLitt, University of Oxford (1985); Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries (1987); Fellow of the British Academy (1988); Premio Internacional Elio Antonio de Nebrija (1994); Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoris causa, Georgetown University (1995); Doctor Honoris causa, Universitat de València (2005); Académico Correspondiente of the Real Academia Española (2009). Before he died, Alan learned that he would be named Doctor Honoris causa by the Unversidad de Granada. He was honored with four homage volumes: the aforementioned North American Tribute; The Medieval Mind: Hispanic Studies in Honour of Alan Deyermond, edited by Ian Macpherson and Ralph Penny; ‘Quien hubiese tal ventura’: Medieval Hispanic Studies in Honour of Alan Deyermond, edited by Andrew M. Beresford; Juan Ruiz: Arcipreste de Hita y el ‘Libro de Buen Amor’: II Congreso Internacional; Homenaje a Alan...