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Obituary: Albert Hourani

ROGER HARDY's judicious account of Albert Hourani's life (obituary, 18 January) misses the intellectual excitement that Albert and Elizabeth Monroe, perfect foils for one another, created at the Middle East Centre at St Antony's in the Sixties, writes Ann Williams.

The library, the seminars and the promise of rewarding discussion which continue, make the centre his lasting memorial. At home in Oxford, and latterly in Islington, relaxed by Odile's delicious cooking, he brought together young and old to talk of the Middle East, painting, literature and opera. Albert's concern for his pupils and staff won him great devotion, and there are few departments of Middle Eastern and Islamic studies in the US and Britain which do not contain teachers influenced by him. His reputation was high on the Continent, respect not given to many English scholars.