Peter King (1922-2017)

Peter King, one of the most prominent neerlandici of the post-war era, has died on 3 July. He was 95 years old. Born in Wimbledon in 1922, he served during the war as Royal Navy liaison officer on a Dutch submarine, where his lifelong interest in Dutch language, literature and culture was aroused.

After the war he studied Dutch with Theodoor Weevers at Bedford College, University of London, and in Groningen, where he met his wife.

After his MA Peter began teaching Dutch in Cambridge, with a full University Lectureship in 1959. In 1976 he was appointed to the Dutch Chair at the University of Hull where an Institute of Modern Dutch Studies had been established with financial support from the Leverhulme Trust and other donors. It was originally intended as a research institute, coordinating the various research activities into the Low Countries taking place around the university. However, in 1980 Peter launched a successful undergraduate BA in Modern Dutch Studies with, for that time, an innovative curriculum.

As literary scholar Peter is well known for, among other things, his study of Dutch dawn poetry and of Multatuli, and for the first computer concordances of Vondel’s works. He was also one of the initiators of Levend Nederlands, an audio-visual language course that was widely used to teach Dutch well into the 1980s. In 1987 he retired.

(Roel Vismans)

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