11.0349 Lynne Grundy 1957-1997

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Tue, 21 Oct 1997 10:12:54 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 11, No. 349.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

[1] From: Harold Short <Harold.Short@kcl.ac.uk> (40)
Subject: Lynne Grundy 1957-1997

[2] From: Willard McCarty <Willard.McCarty@kcl.ac.uk> (45)
Subject: Lynne

Date: Tue, 21 Oct 1997 10:03:46 +0100 (BST)
From: Harold Short <Harold.Short@kcl.ac.uk>
Subject: Lynne Grundy 1957-1997

Humanist readers will be much saddened, I know, to hear of the death
of our colleague Lynne Grundy, after a long illness and at the young
age of 40.

As many will be aware, Lynne was a medieval scholar, with specialist
interests in Anglo-Saxon culture. Her PhD thesis was on the
medieval cleric, Aelfric, and this was the basis for a 1991 book:
'Books and Grace: Aelfric's Theology'. For the past nine years she
worked part-time as a researcher for the Thesaurus of Old English,
and played a key role in bringing it to print in 1995. She was the
first occupant of the post of Lecturer in Humanities Computing at
King's College London. She was an exceptional research scholar, and
was a constant and refreshing reminder that in our field of
humanities computing the technology is there to serve the scholarship.

Lynne was also the most gifted of communicators - a born teacher who
inspired numbers of Old English and humanities computing students,
both undergraduate and postgraduate. But most of all she will be
remembered by those who knew her, and especially by her students,
colleagues and friends, as a remarkable individual with a wealth of
interests, insights and infectious enthusiasms, graceful and full
of vitality - which makes it all the harder to accept
that she has gone.

The funeral service is to take place on Tuesday 21 October at the
church of St Paul's Covent Garden, where for many years Lynne and
her husband Martin have sung in the choir (a choir she organised).

Later that day she will be buried in the parish churchyard at
Eynsham, a village just outside Oxford. Lynne came from this
area, and it is particularly fitting that her grave will be
on the hillside where stood the abbey in which Aelfric was
at one time abbot.

A memorial fund is to be established with the purpose of assisting
young scholars. Further details will be made known in due course.

Date: Tue, 21 Oct 1997 09:01:49 +0100
From: Willard McCarty <Willard.McCarty@kcl.ac.uk>
Subject: Lynne

I first met Lynne in April 1996, I think it was, when I appeared at King's
College London for a job interview, and then again a couple of months later,
on a visit, and finally when I began work in late September with her in the
Centre for Computing in the Humanities. We worked together for a total of
about 2 1/2 months, for the first term of my first year at King's. When she
went away on sick-leave we hardly knew each other. Real friendship only grew
with her illness, and we became close only after the disease seemed likely
to claim her, and then only in a necessarily one-way correspondence
illuminated by a single telephone conversation. Little more than a flicker
in the scale of things, but I kiss this joy as it flies.

At a recent meeting of computer scientists and humanists, Stan Katz (now
former President of the American Council of Learned Societies) spoke of the
fragility of our common enterprise, pushed along by so few of us and so
extraordinarily dependent on a few hearts continuing to beat. He was
referring then to the death of Paul Peters, formerly head of the Coalition
for Networked Information (U.S.), suddenly of asthma, but his mortal
thoughts recur now and will continue to recur. A kind of immortality is in
remembrance of exemplary individuals, like Lynne, because of the mental
leaven they leave behind, an "agency which produces profound change by
progressive inward operation" (OED). Personally this leaven may be more
important for us than any conscious action we might take, but professionally
we must do more.

Coming to work at King's was a great turning point in my professional life,
since it meant that at long last my job-description and my intellectual
passions became one. There are, however, very few institutions as forward
looking with respect to our field as King's, so very few people in positions
like Lynne's and mine. The loss of just one of us is serious. It seems to me
that wherever and whenever possible we must do everything in our power to
communicate what we know and can see, particularly to students. For us
professionally a much more important form of continuity -- immortality seems
more than a bit presumptious here -- lies in training the next generation.
Perhaps hybris has done the gods' work on me, but I do think that humanities
computing is crucial to the arts and humanities, and I am old-fashioned
enough to believe that they are in turn crucial to the public at large, with
whom we must connect to survive.

"A life-time burning in every moment...."

The moment I will remember always is when walking just a couple of weeks ago
by the Thames at sunset, with the fiery golden light shining slant-wise
across the river and on the riverside buildings, thinking of Lynne in the
dying of the light. Farewell, my friend and colleague!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Dr. Willard McCarty, Senior Lecturer, King's College London
voice: +44 (0)171 873 2784 fax: +44 (0)171 873 5801
e-mail: Willard.McCarty@kcl.ac.uk

Humanist Discussion Group
Information at <http://www.kcl.ac.uk/humanities/cch/humanist/>