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Advances: Literary News

April 2020, no. 420

Advances: Literary News

April 2020, no. 420

Ian Donaldson (1935–2020)

As we were going to press on March 18 we learned that our dear friend and colleague Ian Donaldson had died earlier that morning after a long illness.

Ian, one of Australia’s most distinguished and influential scholars, was educated at Melbourne and Oxford Universities. He returned to Australia in 1969 as Professor of English at ANU. One of his major creations was ANU’s Humanities Research Centre, of which he was Director from 1974 to 1991. That year he returned to the UK as Regius Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature at the University of Edinburgh. In 1995 he became Grace 1 Professor of English at the University of Cambridge.

ABR’s and my own association with Ian Donaldson really began in 2004 on his welcome return to Australia. He was a member of the ABR Board from 2009 to 2017. In 2011 he delivered the ABR Fiftieth Birthday Lecture at the National Library of Australia. He wrote for us twenty times between 2006 and 2019. Fittingly, his final contribution was a review of his old friend Keith Thomas’s magisterial book In Pursuit of Civility: Manners and civilization in early modern England (January–February 2019).

Ian’s magnum opus was Ben Jonson: A life (2011). It followed a lifetime’s research into his beloved Jonson, and was complemented by the seven-volume Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson in 2012, of which Ian was an indefatigable General Editor.

Anyone who knew Ian was struck by his charm, his modesty, his erudition, and his phenomenal range of friends and associates (though one had to winkle the stories out of him). Time and again he steered ABR towards bright young scholars, for he was a model of intellectual generosity and leadership.

His contribution to this magazine was second to none. We mourn his passing and celebrate an exceptional life.

Peter Rose


A Passage to India

Thank you for your many interesting and thoughtful contributions to the Passage to India competition. In the circumstances, ABR and our partner Abercrombie & Kent think it would be incongruous to announce the winner at this stage, when international travel is moot at best and when such grave issues are uppermost in everyone’s mind. We will name the winner in coming weeks.

From the New Issue

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