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Obituary: J. R. (Ronnie) Mulryne (1937–2019)

The following is an obituary written by Dr Margaret Shewring (Theatre & Performance and Cultural & Media Policy Studies). We note his considerable contribution to the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies, where Ronnie taught for many years, particularly on Shakespeare and his Contemporaries, and on poetry. Ronnie also worked alongside Jack (later Lord) Butterworth to protect the Faculty of Arts against cuts by the University Grants Council in the 1980s. The funeral will take place on Monday 25 February 2019 at Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon at 12.00 noon. His wife, Eithne, welcomes all friends and colleagues.

Dr Shewring writes:

It is with great sadness that we write to let you know that J.R. (Ronnie) Mulryne died on Monday 28 January. He had become increasingly unwell in the past two months and, although he remained mentally alert, his body had become very frail as the cancer had spread and the treatments became more difficult to cope with. He died at home during in his sleep.

Throughout his career Ronnie has been a tireless and distinguished contributor to academic teaching, research and publication. He has inspired generations of students and scholars, developing resources and a scholarly framework for the interdisciplinary study of European Renaissance Culture and of Early Modern Performance.

Ronnie joined the Department of English at the University of Warwick in 1977. Among his many University roles he was Director of the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance from the 1980s to 2003, a role that reflected his determination that postgraduate students would benefit from being a part of an interdisciplinary grouping for teaching and research at MA and doctoral level. With colleagues associated with the Centre he convened numerous interdisciplinary conferences at Warwick, Warwick in Venice, Columbia University New York, Bergamo and the Warburg Institute (University of London) as well as two EURESCO-funded conferences in Lucca, Tuscany. Ronnie actively promoted international partnerships with the University of Venice, Ca’ Foscari, the University of Paris-Sorbonne and the University of Tours. Under his directorship, the Centre developed European academic exchange programmes (ERASMUS and SOCRATES) with colleagues and postgraduate students in Venice and Paris. Ronnie’s own frequent contributions to conferences of the Société Internationale de Recherches Interdisciplinaires sur la Renaissance (S.I.R.I.R) at Paris-Sorbonne, and his subsequent publications on aspects of Renaissance literature and performance, were recognised by the French Ministry of Education and Culture in 1992 when he was made a Chevalier of l’Ordres des Palmes Académiques.

In the late 1990s Ronnie led Warwick’s successful application for funding from the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Board for Warwick’s Centre for the Study of the Renaissance to host the AHRB Centre for the Study of Renaissance Elites and Court Cultures, chairing this Centre for three years and leading one of its interdisciplinary research programmes with a focus on court and civic festivals of the European Renaissance, a project that resulted in a 2-volume, large-format publication making available to readers the texts of court and civic festivals, transcribed, translated and annotated with scholarly introductions. He also led the creation of a website, in collaboration with the British Library, to make more than two hundred and fifty festival books from the Library’s collection available in searchable, digital format.

On his retirement from Warwick in 2004 Ronnie was made Professor Emeritus. He continued to be an active scholar, editor, conference convenor and participant. As a co-founder of the Society for European Festivals Research he continued to collaborate in conferences in Warwick, Venice, London, Bergamo, Mons and Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He particularly enjoyed our collaboration with the European Science Foundation’s PALATIUM research network. As a general editor of the European Festival Studies, 1450–1700 series of books he encouraged interdisciplinary research in an increasingly international context for students, doctoral and early career researchers and more senior scholars, collaborating in research networks with curators, archivists and performance practitioners.

His energy, his generosity in encouraging others and his love of theatre, music, poetry, architecture and history have been an inspiration to many. He will be greatly missed.

Thu 07 Feb 2019, 16:16 | Tags: Theatre Studies, English, News