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Memorial plaque unveiled: Professor Charlotte Jolles

Professor of German, expert on Theodor Fontane

Birkbeck alumni and wider community may remember Charlotte Jolles, who joined Birkbeck in 1955 as a lecturer in the German Department and became Professor of German in 1974 before retiring in 1977.

David A Wells (with acknowledgement to Helen Chambers) writes: “Charlotte Jolles’s contribution to scholarship in German studies was admirably summarized in an obituary published after her death, aged 94, in 2003: Charlotte Jolles ‘did more for the study of Germany's greatest 19th-century novelist, Theodor Fontane, than anyone else in the 20th century’.

“On 21 September 2014 an elegant commemorative plaque was unveiled on the house in Berlin, at Grossbeeren Str. 82, Kreuzberg, where Professor Jolles lived as a child and young woman before emigrating in 1939 to London, her home for the rest of her life.

“Fontane's most famous work is his novel of adultery Effi Briest (1895), but his connection to Britain is perhaps better known through his Scottish travelogue Beyond the Tweed (1858). Having acquired British citizenship Charlotte Jolles continued her life-long dedication to Fontane studies, memorably travelling to Glasgow at the age of 89 to launch her introduction to a new English edition of the work.”