Univer­sity’s trib­ute to ‘bril­liant scholar’ of 35 years’ ser­vice

Chichester Observer - - NEWS - Staff re­porter [email protected]­server.co.uk www.chich­ester.co.uk

The Univer­sity of Chich­ester is sad­dened to an­nounce the death of Pro­fes­sor Wil­liam (Bill) Gray, who died at home on April 8 after a long ill­ness.

Pro­fes­sor Gray – known as Bill – had taught at the Univer­sity of Chich­ester for nearly 35 years, be­com­ing Pro­fes­sor of Lit­er­ary His­tory and Hermeneu­tics.

He had to re­tire from univer­sity life at the end of 2016 after an un­ex­pected and se­ri­ous stroke.

He be­gan his aca­demic life as a stu­dent at Christchurch, Ox­ford.

After a fur­ther year at Prince­ton and then Ed­in­burgh, he came to teach at Chich­ester where his var­ied in­ter­ests led him to pub­lish bi­ogra­phies of C.S. Lewis and Robert Louis Steven­son; three books on fantasy: Fantasy, Myth and the Mea­sure of Truth: Tales of Pull­man, Lewis, Tolkien, Mac­don­ald and Hoff­mann; Death and Fantasy; and Fantasy, Art and Life; edited col­lec­tions of es­says on C.S. Lewis and Mervyn Peake; and a col­lec­tion of fairy tales from around the world.

A vol­ume of Robert Louis Steven­son’s Fa­bles, for which Bill went back to the orig­i­nal manuscripts to present Steven­son’s work as he had orig­i­nally in­tended, is due out in the New Ed­in­burgh Edi­tion of the Col­lected Works of Robert Louis Steven­son soon.

Bill be­gan teach­ing in re­li­gious stud­ies be­fore mov­ing into the de­part­ment of English.

He founded the Sus­sex Cen­tre for Folk­lore, Fairy Tales, and Fantasy as a re­search cen­tre at the univer­sity in 2009.

The im­pact of the cen­tre has given a well-es­teemed boost to re­search across gen­res.

It at­tracted an in­ter­na­tional edi­to­rial board of some re­pute and a wide list of con­trib­u­tors.

Mes­sages of con­do­lence and sym­pa­thy have been sent to Bill’s family from col­leagues, re­searchers, au­thors, for­mer stu­dents and fairy-tale fans, deeply sad­dened by the loss of such a bril­liant scholar and a kind, sup­port­ive teacher who was an inspiration to so many.

A memo­rial ser­vice is be­ing ar­ranged for 2pm on Satur­day, May 25, at the Univer­sity of Chich­ester’s Chapel, on its Bishop Ot­ter cam­pus, Col­lege Lane, Chich­ester, West Sus­sex, PO19 6PE.

If you knew Bill, and would like to at­tend the ser­vice, please RSVP to Heather Rob­bins at h.rob­[email protected] ac.uk.

Pro­fes­sor Bill Gray

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