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For all of these years: Kenneth G. Knight (Professor and HoD: 1979-87). Raymond Hargreaves (HoD 1978-9). Hugh Rorrison. John Tailby. Douglas Cossar. Richard Byrn. Sydney Donald. Fred Bridgham. Helen Chambers.

For a period: John Guthrie. Fiona Elliott. Helmut Peitsch.

LektorInnen: Adelheid Petruschke. Christina Hittmaier. Brigitte Fath (Scott). Werner Plehn. Hedwig Gwosdek. Elisabeth Brauner. Gudrun Strelow. Ursula Kimpel. Cornelia Spiess. Siegfried Uhlig. Susanne Blanz (Heiser). Maria Seissl. Christa Hartwig.


1979 Translation by Hugh Rorrison and K.Hammett, Urs Jenny: "Friedrich Dürrenmatt"
1980 Helen Chambers, Supernatural and Irrational Elements in the Work of Theodor Fontane
1983 Commentary and Notes by Hugh Rorrison to Bertolt Brecht, "Mother Courage and her Children" transl. by John Willett
1983 John Tailby and Peter Meredith, The Staging of Religious Drama in the Later Middle Ages
1985 Douglas Cossar, The German translation of Niccolò da Poggibonsi’s "Libro d’oltramare"

Sample Graduation numbers:





Single Honours + Major German:





Mod. Lang. & Joint Honours German:





Language component (+Oral) in Finals:



Single Hons German + Major German:

~38% (400/1050)

(no change)

Jt Hons Ger+Manag.Studies or Economics:
~50% (300/~600)
~54% (350/650)

Mod.Lang.Ger.& other JH Schools:

(as above)

~50% (300/600)

To learn a new language, Goethe said, is to open up a new side of your personality. That is probably not true so long as you are thinking only of commercial and scientific uses of language, where an international code is accepted and "free on board" means the same everywhere. […] It may be of some help to a consul or a diplomat or a business executive to know the language of the country in which he lives or where he has dealings, but it is not an absolute essential so long as interpreters and translators are available. It may be more important that he should be able to size up a complicated question quickly, or even merely that he should be able to enjoy and appreciate and understand some aspect of the world rather better for having been at a university. The full effects of humane studies at any level are incalculable, and anyone who pursues them first and foremost in order to equip himself for a job or to get a better one will be cheating himself of the profits which really matter. (R.D.Gray, German and Modern Language Studies, in University Choice, 1966)

Our circle of Lektor colleagues now widened significantly, to take in Austrians and East Germans.

A lifelong worker for political détente and active campaigner for a nuclear-free Europe – he was a conscientious objector during WW2 and worked with Quaker relief groups in Holland after D-Day before returning to do his PhD in Cambridge – Ken Knight (HoD 1979-87) both built up the Leeds-Leipzig exchange and also negotiated financial arrangements with the British Council to set up a Guest-Lectureship from the GDR. Two of our guests came from the Martin-Luther-Universität at Halle, others from Jena, Karl-Marx-Stadt (Chemnitz), and Leipzig. This source provided us with our first German male colleagues, otherwise our native-speaker colleagues had until then all been women.

Whilst Ken Knight provided a flat for the first of our GDR guest-lecturers and his family (Werner Plehn), our Lektorinnen now chose generally not to stay in Halls, often becoming tenants of Fred Bridgham in his mansion overlooking the Meanwood valley – a tradition that continues to the present.

Our UG schemes of study expanded now to include a Joint Honours scheme with Management Studies – thus running counter to the long-established literary basis of studies in the Department as also to the assumptions underlying Ronald Gray’s advice of 1966 (above). This scheme gained increasingly in importance – no less than 18 students were recruited to it in session 1978-9. Thus ‘German for Business’ arrived for us, and also in the fullness of time an Erasmus-funded exchange with the University of Bayreuth for students of Economics & German. Developing the necessary portfolio of work-placements in Germany was a big job, undertaken by Fred Bridgham, who still maintains them a quarter of a century later.

One downer: In the wake of a major re-organisation of space in the Arts Block we lost our rooms on the archway bridge, so losing our departmental tea-room. Communications were never the same again.

Meantime the dominant language-teaching method was still the traditional weekly prose comp. & translation class, supplemented as before by conversation classes given by exchange students from Tübingen. Essay-classes were still the main teaching activity of our Lektorinnen.

By now we were also receiving, during the summer semester, a group of exchange students from what was then the Pädagogische Hochschule in Leeds’s twin city of Dortmund.