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In memoriam Prof. Fiona Tolhurst, Ph.D. (1968-2021)


York, July 2010

We are shocked and grieved to hear of the death, on December 21, 2021, of Fiona Tolhurst, who taught several courses in Medieval and Early Modern English Literature at our department between 2008 and 2012.

Fiona was a fine scholar and is above all remembered in Basel as a warm and generous person, a lovely colleague and an inspired teacher. Beyond the official seminars, she always went the extra mile to inspire students and share her enthusiasm for medieval literature, and especially female writers. She brought medieval language, literature and culture to life in dramatized readings and performances or such informal reading groups as Tea With Chaucer and took a group of students to see the York Mystery Plays cycle in July 2010. In the words of a former student, Johanna Sch├╝pbach:

"Dr. Tolhurst left a lasting impression on so many of her former students. When talking to friends they mentioned hers having been some of their favourite classes to take because of her passion, enthusiasm and sheer joy with the subjects when teaching. There have also been so many laughs and there are still jokes and phrases that remain from Tea with Chaucer all those years ago. She was not just an excellent teacher but also a wonderful person who brought people together: Many lasting friendships have come out of her stay here in Basel. For that and so much more I am thankful I got to meet her. She will be sorely missed."

Fiona was Professor of English and chair of the Department of Language and Literature at the Florida Gulf Coast University in the USA. A memorial service held at her university on Friday, January 14, 2022 will be on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0piHvQETxoY.