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Pubilication Date: 3 March 2023

DOI: 10.26193/MCCUXL

Emeritus Professor Werner Senn (born 1942) studied English and German language, literature and civilisation at the Universities of Berne, Vienna and Liverpool. He qualified as a teacher in 1968 and received his doctorate in Berne in 1972. Werner earned his lectureship at the University of Berne in 1978 and was appointed to the position of Professor of Modern English Literature in 1984, a position he held until his retirement in 2007. Throughout his appointment, Professor Senn taught not only modern English but also postcolonial literatures, in particular Australian literature.

Werner’s special interest in Australian literature led him to travel to Australia in March-April 1983 on what was called a familiarisation tour, at the invitation of the Literature Board of the Australia Council and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs. The aim of the trip was to allow Werner to familiarise himself with Australian literary studies as practised at the various universities Werner visited (more than a dozen of them), from Perth to Brisbane. The input from this trip proved decisive for Werner’s subsequent engagement in furthering Australian studies in Switzerland and Europe. He was one of the founding members in 1989 of the European Association for Studies of Australia (EASA), which in later years he served both as secretary and chairperson.

Werner’s professional works span numerous anthologies, articles and books on a wide range of topics and authors in English, American and Australian literature. He has edited and co-edited several collections of essays on Australian literature and culture, among them The Making of a Pluralist Australia, 1950-1990. This volume was co-edited by Giovanna Capone, the first chairperson of the EASA. It contains the papers given at the inaugural conference of the Association at the University of Berne in 1991.