Jonathan Benison: Lecturer with Norfolk roots

PUBLISHED: 11:06 20 August 2012

OBIT Jonathan Benison

OBIT Jonathan Benison


A lecturer and editor of classical books for schools, Dr Jonathan Benison, who has died after a long illness aged 57, was educated in Norwich.

He wrote articles about science fiction and edited annotated school editions of classics including Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and The Time Machine by H G Wells.

After graduating from Sussex University, he went to the University of Padua, Italy, where he lectured for a total of 18 years and also taught specialist courses for translators.

He achieved a distinction in his masters degree at the University of Essex in 1981, where later he was also awarded his PhD in the sociology of literature in 1990.

He spent the last dozen years teaching in Paris, where he died, and was most recently co-ordinator for the international baccalaureate at the Victor Hugo School.

Born in Calcutta, where his father was then working for Norwich Union (now Aviva), his primary education was in Kent before he went to the City of Norwich School.

His father, Peter, now aged 90, who was born in the city, went to Norwich School. He retired from Norwich Union after more than 40 years having been sent out to Bombay, India, in 1949, shortly after independence, staying until 1963.

Jonathan, who is the second youngest of five children, is survived by four sisters, Angela, who lives in Norwich; Jane, in Cambridge, Sherry Mary, in Southampton and Georgina, also living in Norwich, but who teaches in Oman.

Married to Daniela, the couple had a home about 50 miles north of Venice. They have two children, Edward, who has just completed an eight-year course to qualify as a doctor and is taking up a post at the Liverpool Royal Infirmary.

His father, who was then seriously ill, was able to travel to Ferrara, near Bologna, in northern Italy, to see him receive his doctorate.

His daughter, Melissa, is studying investigative and forensic chemistry at the University of East Anglia.

A celebration of Dr Benison’s life and academic career will take place at Colney Woodland Burial Park on Saturday, September 8 at 2pm.

Michael Pollitt

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