Kevin Sharpe (1949-2011)

posted Nov 6, 2011, 1:58 AM by Professor Katz   [ updated Nov 5, 2012, 2:16 AM ]
Anyone who has studied English history knows about Professor Kevin Sharpe, whose work changed the way we see Great Events in history.  Kevin rejected the comfortable notion that big explosions have long fuses, and demonstrated that any historical event is ultimately the result of a mass of small moments that can be understood only by painstakingly recreating the immediate background through intensive archival and library research.  Kevin went on to study literature with the same eye to historical close-reading, and produced many deeply researched (and long) books of high quality.  You could also read Kevin Sharpe on British Academia which was both amusing and to the point.

Kevin died on 5 November 2011.  He had survived a bout with cancer, and until three weeks before his death had no idea that the disease had returned.  We'll all miss him.


"Don't ever show this picture", Kevin said.  "People will call it 'Katz and Sharpe On the Ropes'"


Peter Lake and I stayed with Kev in Southampton at the end of the Summer in 1999.  On the weekend, we went over to the Isle of Wight, returning late back to Kevin's house, where he insisted on preparing what he always called 'the menu': salmon, new potatoes, and green beans.


We stayed with Kevin in October 2009.  Kevin had just received his OAP card and was very pleased that he could use local transport for free...which led to a jaunt to Stratford, Kevin riding as an OAP while we bought our fares.  Kev would not allow himself to be photographed before he unleashed his card.

Tributes and messages of condolence can be read here. Click here for more photos of Kevin Sharpe.