We are saddened to announce the death of our Emeritus Fellow, Dr Adrianne Tooke, on March 2nd.

Adrianne was Somerville’s Fellow and Tutor in French from 1981 until her retirement in 2008, and remained close to us as an Emeritus Fellow until her death. Her research focused on 19th century literature of all kinds, in particular Benjamin Constant and Flaubert. The latter was the subject of her 2000 monograph, Flaubert and the Pictorial Arts: From Image To Text.

Adrianne’s former student, the author Helen Stevenson (1981, Modern Languages), was kind enough to share her recollections with us:

“I was one of the batch of linguists who arrived at Somerville in 1981, at the same time as Adrianne arrived as Tutor in French. She had not chosen any of us at interview, that had been done by her predecessor, and when I re-met her just before the pandemic in a bookshop in Chipping Norton she said, laughing, ‘you were all so….. tall!’ I think it is true to say we adored her, and were bewitched by her wit, liveliness and confidence. To gain her approval was to gain more than a tick in the margin of a paragraph – you felt warmed and enlivened and capable, possibly, next time, of more. At our recent meetings she continued to be curious, provocative, incisive, private, warm and wise. Any contact with her was precious, by note, or in person. All those who knew Adrianne will surely regret the further times they would have loved to spend in closer acquaintance with her, chatting and chuckling, learning more.”

The college flag will fly at half-mast this week in respect for Adrianne and all she gave to Somerville and its community.

Emeritus Fellow Dr Adrianne Tooke

Emeritus Fellow Dr Adrianne Tooke

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