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Remo Catani (1938-2005)

Lecturer in Italian at Cardiff University 1966-2004

Remo Catani came to University College, Cardiff, as a lecturer in 1966. He retired after a career of 40 years in September 2004 and died suddenly in August 2005, leaving a widow, Nicole, lecturer in French at UWIC (and formerly an associate lecturer in the School of European Studies) and a son, Damian, a lecturer in French at Cambridge.

Born into the Italian community in Glasgow and the west of Scotland, Remo gained a first in French and Italian at Glasgow, studied and researched at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa and began his University career at Bristol in 1964.

His whole education and career were bound up in the creation of Italian as a major University subject, alongside French, German and Spanish. He came to Cardiff just as the first Chair of Italian and the first University department were being set up in the University of Wales. Remo ably assisted Professor Fred Jones in building Italian into one of the best departments in the UK.

They pioneered teaching to beginners, taught Italian to Music students, helped to create the Law and Languages programmes and participated in the (then) innovative European Community Studies programme. Remo became Director of Studies for Italian on Professor Jones’ retirement in 1988. Supported by successive Heads of School, he excelled in making the most of limited teaching resources, developing links with Italian universities, appointing excellent lecturers, associate lecturers and tutorial fellows and obtaining one of the few Italian government funded lectureships in the UK.

Remo’s contribution to the School of European Studies was as a brilliant linguist and an excellent administrator who helped maintain a vibrant and active Italian section. He also contributed to the University through his work on committees and working groups over many years, and he was a familiar figure to many Cardiff academics. He had wide-ranging interests covering his personal and academic life, including History of Art, Renaissance astrology and French wine, all of which he pursued with typical originality and devotion to detail.

His forthright style, dry humour and zest for argument made him difficult to ignore, and he remained to the end an individualist who followed his own path. The School is acknowledging his contribution with the setting up of the Remo Catani Undergraduate Prize which, it is intended, will be awarded from 2006 onwards. All donations will be gratefully received, and anyone wishing to contribute to the fund should please contact the School Administrator, Anne James, in the first instance.

Dr Chris Bettinson, Director of French Studies,

School of European Studies.