With great sorrow, the department announces the death of Trevor Le Gassick, Professor of Arabic Literature. Trevor Le Gassick attended the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies where he earned a PhD in Arabic Studies in 1960. He taught Arabic literature in Wisconsin and Indiana before joining the faculty at the University of Michigan as Assistant Professor in 1966, and was promoted through the ranks to professor in 1979. Trevor Le Gassick’s research and publications focused on the prose literature of the modern Arab world, both fiction and non-fiction. His articles and translations were the first outside the Middle East to draw attention to Naguib Mahfouz, winner of the Nobel Prize for literature in 1988. He published an anthology of excerpts from works representing the views on societal and political issues expressed by leading 19th and 20th century Arab intellectuals, an autograph Arabic manuscript by the Egyptian nationalist leader Ahmad ‘Urabi, and an edited critical work on Naguib Mahfouz. He also translated works by Yusuf Idris, Yahya Haqqi, Ihsan Abd al-Quddus, and other prominent Arab writers, as well as a four-volume translation of Ibn Kathir’s Life of the Prophet Muhammad. Most recently, he co-published a translation of a 12th century work on the Fundamentals of Religion by Tibghurin al-Malshuti.
The courses that Trevor taught for the department included Introduction to Arabic Literature in Translation, History of Arabic Literature in English, Modern Arabic Fiction, Modern Arabic Non-fiction, and Introduction to the Qur’an. He is fondly remembered by his students for his lively stories of his encounters with the great twentieth century authors of Arabic literature. He retired on May 31, 2022, and passed away on June 21, 2022. He is survived and deeply mourned by his children. His colleagues cherish his memory and honor his many contributions to our curriculum and to the field, and we will miss his presence in the halls of Thayer, where he was an integral part of our community for so long.