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In memoriam Dr. Markus Marti-Cimitro (1955-2021)

We are saddened by the death of Dr. Markus Marti, who taught as a lecturer at the Department of English of the University of Basel from 1996 to 2016.

Markus was a passionate reader and teacher whose intellectual interests ranged well beyond his core expertise in Shakespeare. He was, for instance, an expert on semiotics, detective novels, and opera. In co-taught courses on “The Seven Deadly Sins” and “Food and Drink in English and American Culture” he brilliantly displayed his encyclopaedic knowledge of literary and musical works as well as his expert use of electronic media. For his doctoral dissertation, he edited and translated into German Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens for the bilingual study edition of Shakespeare’s plays. He received the Helene-Richter-Gedächtnispreis for this work. Later, he would contribute Titus Andronicus to the same series. Again, a future volume of the Studienausgabe will feature his German prose version of Macbeth. His translations of Shakespeare’s sonnets into German and Wallisertitsch are a delight to read. For his translation of Eugen Gomringer’s poems into English, he received the Rilke prize. Markus was also a pioneer in the online dissemination of academic knowledge: his ‘Sh:in:E - Shakespeare in Europe’ is an early website that collected European contributions to the study of the Bard.

Markus was a man of many talents. He played the organ. He was an excellent chess player who told one of the authors of this obituary “you play better than I thought” after beating him eight times in a row. His Flachsländerstrassenjassturniere were legendary. When the Basler Zeitung launched a writing competition resulting in a crime story, Markus received the first prize. His often acerbic, always intelligent, and often funny theatre reviews reached the inboxes of his friends in the wee hours and were a pleasure to read. He refused to send the reviews to newspapers for publication because he felt that he would be forced to tone down his critiques. For years, however, he wrote reports on Shakespeare productions in Switzerland. Above all, Markus was an eminently witty, likeable, modest, smart, and convivial colleague. Markus, we raise our glass to you. You will be sorely missed.

Werner Brönnimann, Balz Engler, Ina Habermann, Philipp Schweighauser, on behalf of the Department of English

Shakespeare auf Walliserdeutsch: Markus Marti zum Kaffee bei radio rottu oberwallis (7.10.2010)