Arthur Terry was born in York in 1927, read modern languages at Cambridge and taught Spanish at Queen's University, Belfast before moving to the University of Essex in 1973 as Professor Literature. His interest in the Catalan language and its literature went back to his Cambridge days and, as a young postgraduate, he made his first visit to Barcelona where, in the darkest days of Francoist repression of Catalan culture, he did the groundwork for his first book and also befriended many important Catalan writers and artists with whom he remained in touch.
An expert on Catalan literary history and major Catalan authors (a distinction for which he received several institutional awards
for his work as a critic and historian of Catalan literature and for services to Catalan culture), he was also particularly renowned for his work on the Spanish poets of the seventeenth century, publishing a celebrated two-part anthology of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spanish poetry (1965, 1968) the introduction of which is still recognised as one of the best surveys of Spanish poetry of this period.
Arthur Terry was a devoted champion of comparative Literature, and served for several years as President of the British Comparative Literature Association, taking a particular interest in literary translation. The undisputed doyen of Catalan literary studies in the UK, he enjoyed an international reputation for his scholarship and knowledge. His sudden death, on 24 January 2004 at the age of 76, was headline news in Barcelona, where he was a much-honoured and revered figure.