Professor Emeritus Alan Robinson 1920 - 2019
Originally from Southampton, Alan spent 27 years of his life in Aberystwyth. His love for Aber began when he was evacuated with other students from University College London during World War II to study German at UCW Aberystwyth, gaining a first class honours degree in German in 1944.
After a period of teaching at Merchant Taylors’ and Haberdashers’ schools in London and a year with the German section of the Foreign Office he spent two years at the University of Edinburgh, completing his PhD in 1950.
In that same year he was delighted to be appointed assistant lecturer in the German department of UCW Aberystwyth under the leadership of Professor David Evans (known affectionately to his staff as ‘Dai Deutsch’). From 1952 to 1967 he was a full time lecturer of German and he was also teaching Swedish. His main academic interests were in 19th Century German literature, with the majority of his published work relating to the social author, Theodor Fontane. He was very keen that texts from this period should be accessible to school students and to this end he edited several of Fontane’s works, which were subsequently included on A Level syllabi for many years.
During these years, as well as his teaching and research, he was Warden of Ceredigion and Plynlimon halls and an examiner for the Welsh Joint Education Committee.
In 1967 he moved to Canada having been appointed to the Chair of German at the University of Guelph, Ontario. He did not lose contact with Aber, however, spending the summer months of each year there until, in 1971, he returned permanently as Professor of German and Head of the German, Swedish and Russian department. He remained in this post until his retirement in 1979. During these years he wrote on the works of the 20th century author, Albrecht Goes, and developed his research on Theodor Fontane, publishing a book on the author and his work in 1976.
On retirement Alan moved back to the south of England, where he had a long and happy retirement pursuing, with his partner, Margaret, his interests in conservation, coastal and country walking and travelling.
He died on 29th August 2019 aged 99.