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Issue 474, 3 December 2001

Professor John Barnard

John Barnard joined the School of English in 1965, after undergraduate and postgraduate study in Oxford, and a period working in the States as research assistant to the noted bibliophile James M. Osborn. He was promoted to a senior lectureship, and then, in 1978, to the Chair in English Literature which he held until his retirement.

John Barnard's academic career has been marked by the range of his scholarly expertise. He has published on literature from the Restoration to the Romantics, with a special interest in textual editing and the history of the book. His editions of Etherege and of John Keats are model scholarly reference works, and his book on Keats remains a standard critical study. As a scrupulous and supportive General Editor of the Longman's Annotated English Poets series, John Barnard has also enabled the production of some of the finest of modern editions. His bibliographical work will be crowned by the publication of the co-edited volume on the Seventeenth Century in The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain later this year. John's high-standing as a bibliographer was marked by his election as Vice-President of the Bibliographical Society in 1998.

In these days of increasing specialisation, the variety of John Barnard's scholarly interests has been reflected in his remarkable readiness to teach at undergraduate level across an impressive range of subject areas; but perhaps his most distinctive contribution to the School's teaching has been in the MA in Bibliography, a scheme which he was instrumental in establishing, and latterly maintained single-handedly. All his teaching has been marked by commitment to his students and kindly but firm encouragement of the most rigorous standards in their work.

John Barnard is not only a scholar held in high regard and a teacher warmly remembered. He has unstintingly contributed to the administration both of the School and of the University. Chairman of the School on three occasions, a Chair of the Board of the Faculty of Arts, and latterly of the Applications Committee, John has brought to these and many other administrative roles an unswerving clarity of purpose and dispassionate integrity. It is these qualities which led to his selection as Chair of the English Subject Panel in the current RAE, and election as a founding fellow of the English Association.

With John's retirement the School of English is losing an individual whose total devotion to its best interests has been sustained over more than thirty years. He has guided the School through many changes, while keeping its ideals intact. He has filled various public roles with distinction, and has furthered the humane and scholarly traditions of his subject. In his care for students and support for his colleagues as individuals he has always set an exacting standard for others to follow.

John moves to Oxford, where his wife, Hermione Lee, is Goldsmith's Professor of English Literature. We wish both of them every happiness.

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