Those of us in the Education Enhancement team have worked in collaboration with a great number of academic colleagues over the years. Few collaborations, however, have been as meaningful and enjoyable as those which we formed when developing our First World War digital collections.
We were greatly saddened to hear the news that Professor Jon Stallworthy had passed away. An admired poet and critic, renowned for his scholarship on War Poetry and Wilfred Owen, Jon was a great friend and mentor in the development of The First World War Poetry Digital Archive. His work with us back in 1994 to guide the selection, digitisation and cataloging of Owen’s Manuscripts formed the heart of the archive. As the trustee of the Owen Literary Estate, his support and encouragement in making the manuscripts digitally available to all has given so much to the the study of First World War Literature and encouraged many other literary estates to follow suit. Jon was always available to to give a captivating lecture or lead a discussion at our workshops and teaching events, most recently The English Faculty Spring School: “British” World War One Poetry.
Whether someone needed support in teaching War Poetry in the classroom, writing a monograph, or indeed developing an online archive, Professor Stallworthy’s generous and meticulous guidance was invaluable. He was a brilliant scholar and a wonderful gentle man. Personally I remember the tour he gave me of the Owen archives that sat beneath the English Faculty Library; this very much brought to life the importance of the digital in preserving and sharing rare and precious documents, as well as giving me the pleasure of being able to hold literary history in my hands. I also remember giving Jon a tour of the online archive, after we had added other poets to keep Wilfred company. He had a great deal of enthusiasm for the project, and was thrilled to be able to cross-search the poet collections to bring up manuscripts side-by-side, see how easily new discoveries could be made, and guess at the possibilities that the digital could bring to tomorrow’s War Poetry scholars.
He will be greatly missed.
We have made available the following two podcasts featuring Professor Stallworthy
Wilfred Owen (British World War One Poetry, April 2014)
War Poetry (Teaching World War One Literature, May 2008)