Passing announced of Wolfson Fellow

Published on
Thursday 11 November 2021 -Thu, 11/11/2021 - 11:39

It is with great sadness that the College has been informed of the death of Dr Julie Meisami, who was a Research Fellow (1985), Governing Body Fellow (1985-2002) and later Emeritus Fellow (2002-2021). Please see an obituary prepared by Julie’s family below.

Dr Julie Scott Meisami passed away peacefully at the age of 84, on the 9th October 2021, in Point Richmond, California, at the home of her daughter and grandchildren after a 2 year battle with cancer. Julie was a native of Berkeley, California. She received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1971. 

From 1971–1980 she taught English Literature and Comparative Literature in Tehran, Iran, chiefly at the University of Tehran, where she was instrumental in forming the MA program in Comparative Literature.

After several years in California (1980–1985), where she taught courses in Comparative Literature and pursued independent research, in 1985 she was appointed University Lecturer in Persian at the University of Oxford, teaching courses in Persian and Arabic literature until her retirement in 2002.

In 2002–2003 she held an Aga Khan Fellowship in Islamic Architecture at Harvard University, where she pursued her art history research. After moving back to California in 2003, she participated in a project to write a descriptive catalogue of the Arabic manuscripts in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin.

Her many publications include Medieval Persian Court Poetry, (Princeton University Press, 1987), Encyclopedia of Arabic Literature (co-edited with Paul Starkey, Routledge, 1998), Persian Historiography to the End of the Twelfth Century (Edinburgh University Press, 1999) and Structure and Meaning in Medieval Arabic and Persian Poetry: Orient Pearls (Routledge, 2003). Her translations include The Sea of Precious Virtues (Bar al-Fava’id), A Medieval Islamic Mirror for Princes (University of Utah Press, 1991) and Nizami, The Haft Paykar: A Medieval Persian Romance (Oxford University Press, 1995).

Julie was a scholar, feminist, traveler, teacher, adventurer, writer, wife, mother, grandmother, and friend to many, and lived her life with simple grace and dignity. Julie is survived by her daughters Mona Reilly, Ayda Meisami, and Moira Anderson Allen, grandchildren Mariam and Mark Reilly, and by her sister Robin Anderson.

Anyone wishing to pass on their messages of condolence to her family, please contact College Secretary, Luke Jackson-Ross for details.