Rudi Holzapfel 1938-2005

poet, scholar and bookdealer

Rudi Holzapfel was born in Paris, France in 1938, the oldest of ten children. His father, Rudolf Holzapfel, was an art expert and a Shakespeare scholar, his mother, Mona Trew from the Folies Bergères, was a dancer with the original Bluebell Girls.

After the war—Rudi had spent some time with relatives in England to learn English—he followed the family to California. He graduated from Santa Barbara Catholic High School. In 1956 he was sent to Dublin, Ireland to study at T.C.D., where he met and married fellow student Ulla Stroucken. They have two children, Francis and Marja.

At Trinity he did his M.Litt. on Irish Literary Magazines which were linked to the fight for Irish Independence.

In 1966 he started to work on his Ph.D. at Leeds University on the Irish poet James Clarence Mangan. Arts funds being cut under the new government, he had to start earning a living, first as a second-hand book dealer, later by teaching English Literature in German, all the while writing poetry and publishing privately.

In 1989 he decided to return to his beloved Ireland. He took up his work on his thesis about J.C. Mangan again, which later became part of the first complete compilation of that poet's work.
He kept on writing and publishing poetry, and dealing in second hand books at his Pennyfarthing, later Poor Sinner bookshop in Tipperary.

In 2002 he fell ill and on February 5th, 2005, he succumbed to cancer after a brave fight, surrounded by his family and friends in Bonn, Germany.


Rudi's Parents