I received today this message from David Greetham regarding Speed Hill, whom many of us have known and honoured for many years.
Dear STS colleagues and friends:
I am very saddened to have to inform you all (making use of Marta Werner's e-list for the 2007 conferees) that Speed Hill, co-founder of STS, co-editor of Text, and past President of the Society, died this morning after suffering through a particularly invasive form of Parkinson's. I worked with Speed from 1978 on various matters associated with the setting up and successful running of STS, and as Marta Werner remarked in her generous opening comments to our last conference, Speed's influence and spirit very much live on in the aims and shape of our current societal work. Indeed, even at this last conference, Speed had organized the two sessions on the "psychic connection" between editor and author, and while his illness prevented him from attending, Barbara Oberg presented his paper for him and his presence was deeply felt in the session. His address as President of STS, when his disease had just begun to "bite" (his term), was a deeply moving one, and prompted Jerry McGann to give an impromptu acknowledgment of the value and meaning of STS and of Speed's many contributions to the organization. To put it as plainly as may be, we would not be where we are now if it had not been for Speed; indeed, we would not even exist, and the 2007 conference (and this list from Marta) would not have been put together.
After a long friendship and a history of very close collaboration, I feel the loss particularly keenly. But I do know that his presence in, for example, The Margins of the Text, Scholarly Editing , the many volumes of Text, and most significantly in his major scholarly achievement, the Folger edition of the works of Hooker, to which he devoted the greater part of his academic career, will remain a part of our textual universe for many years to come. When I was privileged to act as chair to a special celebratory panel given at the CUNY Graduate Center, with distinguished speakers Seth Lerer and Margreta de Grazia, I ended my introductory remarks by saying, quite simply, "Speed, we love you." I think and hope that he knew that and carried that love with him to the end. Our thoughts now go out to his wife Linda and his three children and their families. There is to be a memorial service at the Riverside Memorial Chapel in Mount Vernon this Friday at 2:30 (21 West Broad Street, Mt. Vernon, NY: 914.664.6800), at which various tributes to Speed and his career will be given. If any of you would like to say something about Speed, please send your thoughts to me and I will put them all together in a booklet to be given to Linda, and/or extract a few appropriate comments in my own brief address. Doubtless the Society will want to honor Speed in some more formal manner, perhaps at our next conference or in a future volume of Textual Cultures.
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