Peter Mackridge (1946-2022) R.I.P.

It is with great sadness that we announce that Peter Mackridge passed away peacefully on 16 June 2022.

Peter was a beloved teacher, an inspiring supervisor, a brilliant scholar. His research and publications were influential in the field of modern Greek studies and shaped the thought and research of many scholars and students around him. He was one of the founding members and longest-standing members of the Society for Modern Greek Studies. He will be sorely missed. The Society sends its deep condolences to his widow, Jackie.


The following tributes have been received from colleagues:

Peter Mackridge was a leading figure in modern Greek studies in the UK from the 1970s until the very last months of his life. He began his academic career at King’s College London in 1973, and in 1981 went on to the University of Oxford, where he taught several generations of undergraduates and supervised the doctoral theses of many students in modern Greek literature and linguistics, many of whom have gone on to occupy distinguished academic positions in Greece and other countries. Peter was the kindest and most unassuming of men, who wore his great scholarship lightly but never wavered in his insistence on the highest standards in his students and colleagues. His loss is irreplaceable. He will be deeply mourned and always remembered with love and affection by his many friends in the UK, Greece, Cyprus and elsewhere.

Roderick Beaton

Roderick Beaton has also written an obituary of Peter Mackridge. It can be accessed online at


The early death of Peter Mackridge is a grave loss for Modern Greek Studies in the UK, but also for the international academic community. He was a founding member of the Modern Greek co-ordinating committee, which in 1981 was baptized as SCOMGIU: the Standing Committee on Modern Greek in the Universities, and succeeded by the Society for Modern Greek Studies, founded in 2008. He was the natural leader who, gently but decisively, steered SCOMGIU through its early years.

Several of the many tributes to Peter’s scholarship which have appeared in the Greek media mention that he “specialized in the period since 1750”– a mere 270 years of literature and culture! This is undoubtedly true, but he also wrote several articles on earlier texts, such as Digenis Akritis, and of course he “specialized” in the history of the Greek language and its dialects from medieval to modern, where he did ground-breaking research. The fact is, he specialized in everything he did, if by that we mean his research was thorough and professional, based on deep knowledge and original thought. His books and articles will remain a point of reference for many decades.

His former research students remember him as the ideal supervisor: helpful, supportive and encouraging, but also firm and demanding. He applied exacting standards to everything he did, as teacher, researcher, translator or editor. But he was also the kindest of people and a true friend to many in numerous countries. An abiding memory is of him and his beloved wife Jackie singing a wide repertoire of Greek songs late into the night, in a Greek restaurant in Norwich, after one of the “Voices from Greece” events organized at the University of East Anglia. He was a committed scholar, but also a genuine human being. Αιωνία του η μνήμη.

David Holton


Oxford will not be the same without Peter Mackridge. Peter was the heart and soul of our small sub-faculty: lecturer since 1981, professor from 1996 to 2003, and thereafter officially emeritus, but so involved in various projects and so very active that, in his case, the word ‘retirement’ lost its meaning. Before meeting him in person, I had met him on paper: especially the awesome blue book, The Modern Greek Language, made a lasting impression on me because it described the language as it really was. There are few subjects Peter did not write about, but for me Peter was above all a linguist: it’s not just the blue book or the other one on the language question, but also his work on the position of the weak personal pronoun or the infinitive in the Pontic dialect. All these publications are fundamental to the study of Modern Greek. The last few years Peter had turned his attention to Phanariot lexicography: his γλωσσάρια offer precious insights into the Greek spoken and written in Constantinople when it was still Constantinople. Peter was a great scholar and a friend of Greece who dared criticize it on occasion because he loved the country so much. He was particularly fond of Crete, and not just as a regular visitor: together with his wife Jackie, he edited and annotated the draft version of a book on early 20th-c. Crete by R.M. Dawkins, one of my predecessors. Peter was truly memorable and we will all miss him. Ο Θεός ας αναπαύει την ψυχή του.

Marc Lauxtermann


Peter Mackridge is sadly missed: gratitude of a high order is owed this outstanding scholar and mentor to later generations of scholars, by no means limited to his many doctoral students at Oxford. His deep knowledge of modern Greek culture broadly construed made him the ideal editor for many years of the modern side of the journal Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, and in that role he upheld the scholarly standards of accuracy and originality he himself exemplified. At the same time, Peter was always enthusiastic to learn from his juniors and ever generous in acknowledging his debts to them. Across the whole range of his writings he enjoyed dismantling unhelpful academic myths, and he had the gift of complicating what needed to be complicated and simplifying what needed to be simplified. Even more important, Peter could convey in his teaching, in his translations, and in his keen and undiminished powers of observation a love of the Greek language, of its modern literature, of the lands connected with the Greeks – and of the Greeks themselves. We will all find ourselves needing to consult Peter’s work as often as ever, but we shall miss the living voice – English and Greek – of this kind and forthright friend.

David Ricks


Peter was an exceptional scholar with a wide range of academic interests and immense erudition. Generous with his students, supportive of his colleagues and professional in all his activities, he was also an excellent editor with attention to detail and admirable editorial skills. His untimely death is a great loss for Modern Greek Studies in the UK and worldwide. His ability to cover various aspects of language, literature and culture from the medieval period to the present day was unparalleled and inevitably leads us now to reflect on the connecting strands in his scholarship. One theme, which connects his writings on all three areas, is identity. Apart from his magisterial study on Language and National Identity in Greece 1766-1976 two other articles deserve mention for exploring this subject in literature and culture: ‘The Protean Self of Costas Tahtsis’ and ‘Cultural Difference as National Identity in Modern Greece’. Peter loved Crete and frequently visited the island, following in the footsteps of R. M. Dawkins. On one of his last visits we had dinner with Jackie and Peter in a taverna behind the Historical Museum in Herakleion. It was a pleasant occasion, of which I have fond memories, now inevitably tinged with sadness.  We’ll miss Peter’s integrity and humour, but he will always be remembered by the international academic community. Σε αποχαιρετούμε Πέτρο Μακρίδη και θα σε θυμόμαστε πάντα.

Dimitris Tziovas


The untimely loss of Peter Mackridge for Greek letters is incalculable. He was one of the most robust scholars of the Greek language and Modern Greek literature with a wide range of research interests and a plethora of books, articles, translations and reviews that show how knowledgeable and tireless he was even in the last difficult phase of his life. One can only admire the way he dealt with the incurable disease, continuing with unparalleled mental strength to work tirelessly, remaining stubbornly creative. He spoke with great emotion about the honorary Greek citizenship offered to him by the Presidency of the Hellenic Republic on 23 March 2022, proudly signing as "Πέτρος Μακρίδης".

Among his contributions, Greek: A comprehensive grammar, in collaboration with David Holton and Irene Filippaki-Warburton (Routledge 1997, revised ed. 2012, Greek ed. Patakis 1999), Τα εκμαγεία της ποίησης, a collection of studies on Solomos, Cavafy and Seferis (Estia 2008) and the monograph Language and National Identity in Greece, 1766-1976 (Oxford 2009, Greek ed. Patakis 2013) stand out. His last important work concerned the language of Phanariot and other literary texts of the 18th century, which has been published online in "Anemi", entitled "Glossaries and lexical observations in Phanariot texts 1750-1800".

Also very important are his Introductions to the publications of the novels Eroica and Στου Χατζηφράγκου by Kosmas Politis (Ermis 1982, 1988), his significant contribution to the English translations of Solomos (The Free Besieged and other Poems, Nottingham: Shoestring Press, 2000) and Cavafy (C.P. Cavafy, The Collected Poems, Translated by Evangelos Sachperoglou, Introduction and overall editorial supervision by P.M., Oxford: OUP World's Classics 2007), as well as the co-editing, with David Ricks, of the volume The British Council and Anglo-Greek Literary Interactions, 1945-1955 (Routledge 2018).

His extensive production of articles on Modern Greek language and literature begins in 1970 with a paper on The Angel in the well by P. Prevelakis (English publication: Balkan Studies 11 (1970) 305-311, Greek publication: Nea Estia 90 (1971) 1592-1595) and is completed with a paper on Phanariot literature ("Enlightenment or entertainment? The intolerable lightness of Phanariot literature 1750-1800", Revue des Études Sud-Est Européennes LVIII (2020) 119-138). Finally, his translation production is also very rich, with English translations of Papadiamantis, Vizyinos, Prevelakis, Seferis, Alexandrou, Patrikios, Tachtsis, Ioannou and others.

We will miss him dearly for his ethos, his kindness, his passion for Greece. Rest in peace, dear Peter.

Afroditi Athanasopoulou (University of Cyprus)