Professor Colin Campbell Clarke, one of the founding members of the University of East Anglia, has died. He was 96.
Prof Clarke was an important figure in the early days of what was then called the School of English Studies. Friend and former colleague Vic Sage recently recalled his ready smile and barks of laughter often heard in the corridors of the fledgling school, which was then in a series of prefabs in Wilberforce Road.
"Colin's watchword was 'rigour,'" Vic said. "Students held him in awe for it, an extraordinary generation whom he had taught, by the Socratic method of the old School, to uphold their own interpretations of texts by the minutest of dissections. His students clearly trusted him, and regarded him as their friend, someone they could turn to. He was a strong personal adviser, and defended his flock with his characteristic high indignation against injustice. Colin made literary criticism into a strenuous calling. For him, it was always a matter of truth or falsity."
Prof Clarke was born in 1919 in Perth, Western Australia. He attended the Hale School, where he excelled. In his final year at Hale he was Dux of the School, a School Prefect, captain of the cricket team, a member of the football team, leader of the Debating Society, cast member in the annual dramatic production, and editor of the school's Cygnet magazine. In 1940 he was awarded a Rhodes scholarship to study at Balliol College Oxford, which he took up after serving in the Naval Intelligence division in Darwin during the war.
After graduating with a first-class degree in 1948 he taught at the progressive boarding school St. Christopher's, in Letchworth, and thereafter at Newcastle-on-Tyne University. He then returned to Sydney, Australia, where he met and married his wife Ann in 1958. He returned to England and became a founding member of UEA in 1963. He published works on the English Romantics and the fiction of D.H. Lawrence. He is survived by his wife, four children, Antonia, Rupert, Catherine and Ruth, and five grandchildren, Theo, Louis, Tom, Natalie and Owen.