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Emeritus Professor Alan Bullock

Colleagues will be sorry to learn of the death, on 15 May 2023, of Emeritus Professor Alan Bullock, former Professor of Italian Literature.

After graduating in 1960 from Oxford, Alan’s academic career took him initially to the Universities of Bristol and Aberdeen. He took up a Lectureship at Leeds in 1964, being promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1987, Reader in 1992 and to a Chair in Italian Literature in 1999.  His distinguished research record centred mainly on four women, two from the Renaissance and two modern. In 1974 he gained his PhD in Leeds with a critical edition of the lyric poetry of the noblewoman Vittoria Colonna.  The edition was published eight years later in one of Italy’s most prestigious scholarly series, the Scrittori d’Italia, and has remained the initial point of reference for all studies of Colonna’s verse, as well as a fundamental text for the study of Petrarchism and the history of religion in the sixteenth century.  The Rime of Veronica Gambara, a contemporary of Vittoria Colonna, were the object of Alan’s next critical edition, published in 1995.

In his work on the modern period, he was associated especially with the novelist and playwright Natalia Ginzburg, on whom he published several articles and a monograph (in 1991).  Prior to retirement he worked on an edition of the correspondence of the French painter Elisabeth Chaplin, which brought together not only his gift for meticulous research, but also his interests in music and fine art, and his full competence in French as well as in Italian.

Throughout his career he was devoted to teaching Italian language, literature from the medieval to modern periods, and of film.  His contribution to the University was marked by a strong interest in the welfare of students.  Outside the University he gave long service as an external examiner for school exam boards and for the Institute of Linguists. He rigorously upheld the academic traditions and standards of achievements which he believed worthy of protection.

Alan retired in 2003 after thirty-nine years’ service, at which time the title and status of Emeritus Professor was bestowed upon him.  The funeral service was held on Tuesday 6 June 2023, on which day the flag on the Parkinson Building was flown at half-mast in his memory.