Werner Habicht

Werner Habicht (29 January 1930 – 05 November 2022)

The world of Shakespeare scholarship will be saddened to hear of the death of Werner Habicht, at the age of 92. Not only the doyen of Shakespeare studies in his native Germany, he was internationally known and respected in the widest circles of English studies. We salute his memory as a colleague and dear friend. Werner was Professor emeritus of English, University of Würzburg, Germany. He obtained his degrees at the University of Munich and held previous positions at the Universities of Heidelberg and Bonn as well as visiting professorships at the Universities of Texas (Austin), of Colorado (Boulder), Ohio State (Columbus) and of Cyprus (Nicosia). He was President of the Deutsche Shakespeare-Gesellschaft (West) (1976-87). Werner was author of studies on medieval poetry and on Renaissance and modern drama, including Shakespeare’s reception in 19th and 20th-century Germany. He was former editor of Shakespeare Jahrbuch (West) (1980-1995); co-editor of several volumes of criticism and of a literary encyclopedia (Literatur Brockhaus, 2nd edn. 1995). He was responsible for processing and writing the introduction to the large and important F.A. Leo (1820-1898) collection of letters at the Folger Shakespeare Library, many pertaining to the early nineteenth-century history of the Deutsche Shakespeare-Gesellschaft and founding of the Jahrbuch (https://findingaids.folger.edu/dfoleo2002.xml) He also transcribed, translated and edited a selection of letters and other documents at the Folger Shakespeare Library from 68 authors, written almost exclusively in German and mostly pertaining to the works of Shakespeare. The items date from 1777-1912 (https://findingaids.folger.edu/dfogerman2002.xml#overview). In cooperation with other libraries and archives, Werner and members of the Academy of Sciences and Literature Mainz presented, on the occasion of Shakespeare’s (1564-1616) 450th birthday, an impressively produced photo album with 109 portraits and autograph signatures of personalities meritorious for having communicated and maintained the interest for Shakespeare in Germany (https://www.shakespearealbum.de/en/about.html). Werner was a full member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and a corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences and Literature, Mainz, as well as honorary Vice-President of the International Shakespeare Association and honorary member of the Australian and New Zealand Shakespeare Association (ANZSA). Werner Habicht was a dedicated scholar; always engaging, friendly and committed. He will be greatly missed, and as Hamlet said, we ‘shall not see his like again’.

Christa Jansohn (University of Bamberg)