Emeritus Professor R Geraint Gruffydd
26 March 2015
Tributes have been paid to Emeritus Professor R Geraint Gruffydd who died on Tuesday 24 March, aged 86.
Professor Gruffydd joined the Department of Welsh at Aberystwyth in 1970 following his appointment to the Chair of Welsh Language and Literature. He was appointed Dean of the Arts in 1974, and in 1979 became Librarian of the National Library of Wales.
A graduate of the University of Bangor and Jesus College Oxford, he worked as Assistant Editor on the University of Wales Dictionary for two years, and then as Lecturer at the Department of Welsh at Bangor University, until his appointment to Aberystwyth in 1970.
In 1985 he became Director of the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, and later served as Vice-President of Aberystwyth University. He was appointed Emeritus Professor at Aberystwyth in 1993 and was honoured as Fellow of the University in 2004.
Following the news of his death, Dr Bleddyn Huws, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Welsh, Aberystwyth University said: "It is doubtful whether there was any period in the history of Welsh literature that Professor Emeritus R. Geraint Gruffydd was not proficient in. Although it was the works of the prose authors of the Elizabethan period that was the focus of his DPhil thesis at Oxford – and it was on that basis that he developed to be one of our chief authorities on the literature of the Renaissance period – he also contributed extensively to the field of medieval Welsh poetry. He was an authority on works of the Poets of the Princes and the work Dafydd ap Gwilym and the Poets of the Nobility. He was a complete scholar of Welsh. He excelled as a literary critic due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge of literature in every century, and the robustness of his critical faculties. It was worth reading Geraint’s critical articles if only to appreciate his exquisite style and admire his command of the Welsh language.
As Head of Department and as an administrator and director of research he was very polite and helpful, and a gentleman in everything he did. Many of today’s Welsh and Celtic scholars in countries around the world are indebted to him for his guidance and support, and secure and generous leadership over the years. We extend our deepest sympathy to his widow Luned, and his children Siân, Rhun and Pyrs and their families.”
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