The world of Modern Greek studies is poorer since the passing of Peter Mackridge (March 12, 1946 – June 16, 2022), Professor Emeritus of Modern Greek at the University of Oxford, Fellow of St Cross College, and a dear friend of the Gennadius Library.
Mackridge joined the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages of the University of Oxford as Lecturer in Modern Greek in 1981, and served as Professor of Modern Greek from 1996 until his early retirement in 2003. An avid researcher of the history of the Greek language and ideologies, Greek cultural nationalism, and poetry, he specialized in the period since 1750.
His published works, many of which have been translated into Greek, ranged from grammar books to studies and editions of Dionysios Solomos and Greek fiction. The latest focus of his research was the language and content of Greek literature in the eighteenth century, and the book Language and National Identity in Greece, 1766-1976 (OUP, Oxford, 2009 & 2010). He had also published a large number of articles on medieval and Modern Greek language and literature. His translations of stories by the 19th-century authors Vizyenos and Papadiamandis and a collection of haikus by the 21st-century poet Haris Vlavianos were published in 2014-15. Mackridge was also an editor of the journal Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies and a member of the editorial board of the Greek journal Kondyloforos.
He was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Athens in 2008 and an honorary professorship at the University of the Peloponnese in 2017. He was also recent awarded honorary Greek citizen for his services to Greek studies.
A frequent visitor of the Gennadeion, Professor Mackridge delivered a lecture here on April 2006 on “Katharevousa, demotic and Greek national identity from the 18th century to the 1976 language reform” showcasing his deep knowledge of the history of the Greek language. He will be greatly missed.