Arthur Terry (York, 1927 - Colchester, 2004) was a Catalanophile, Hispanicist, literary critic and translator. Educated at St. Peter’s School and Cambridge University (1944 – 1947), he became interested in Catalan culture at an early age. Thanks to receiving a grant at the initiative of Josep M. Batista i Roca, he travelled to Barcelona in 1949, when he established relationships with Catalan writers, attended clandestine literary gatherings, and worked with reviews that were being persecuted by the Franco dictatorship.
He began to lecture in Modern and Contemporary Literature at the Queen's University of Belfast in 1950 and, in 1962, became Professor of Spanish and eventually the leading English Hispanicist of his generation. He was an active participant in the Belfast Writers' Group, translated Catalan and Spanish poets and participated in literary debates. In 1973 he obtained the Chair in Literature at Essex University, where he taught and trained other lovers of Catalan language and culture. In 1994, he became Emeritus Professor of Comparative Literature at this university, after which he increased the scope of the department's studies and teaching, while also working as a Visiting Professor at the University of London.
His essays and critical works were focused on medieval Catalan poets, Spanish literature of the Siglo de Oro (Golden Age), and twentieth-century Catalan and Spanish poetry, apart from English poetry. Outstanding amongst his books are La poesia de Joan Maragall (The Poetry of Joan Maragall, 1963), An Anthology of Spanish Poetry, 1500-1700 (1965, 1968), Selected poems of Ausiàs March (1976), Sobre poesia catalana contemporània: Riba, Foix, Espriu (On Contemporary Catalan Poetry, Riba, Foix, Espriu , 1985), Quatre poetes catalans: Ferrater, Brossa, Gimferrer, Xirau (Four Catalan Poets: Ferrater, Brossa, Gimferrer, Xirau, 1991), 'Tirant lo Blanc': New Approaches (1999) and Three Fifteenth-Century Valencian Poets (2000).
Arthur Terry was a great scholar and champion of Catalan language and culture. He wrote for The Times Literary Supplement on Catalan literary and cultural matters and he was also the co-founder and president of the Anglo-Catalan Society (1962-65), the Associació Internacional de Llengua i Literatura Catalanes (International Association of Catalan Language and Literature, 1982-88), and the British Comparative Literature Association (1986-92).
In recognition of his devotion to Catalan language and culture he received the Catalonia Prize (1970), the Creu de Sant Jordi (Saint George Cross, 1982) and the Ramon Llull Prize (1995). Homage was rendered to Arthur Terry and his work on several occasions by both Catalan and British institutions.
Web page: Guillem Molla for AELC.
Photographs: ©Francesc Melcion.
Translation: Julie Wark.