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Obituary: Maurice Hutt

Maurice Hutt, who died on Monday (20 May), was Emeritus Reader in History at Sussex and one of a group of academics who set up the University in 1961.

Maurice was born in 1928, to parents who had met in France during the First World War. His English father and French mother brought him up bilingually and the history of modern France would become the main focus of his academic life.

In 1966 he published a short biography of Napoleon and his many articles, especially those on the clerical deputies to the Estates General in 1789, are still required reading in the field.

His major published work, though (the result of more than 20 years’ research), was Chouannerie and Counter-Revolution: Puisaye, the Princes and the British Government in the 1790s.

This two-volume book, published in 1983, redefined historians’ understanding of how the British government tried to subvert the French revolutionary government through subversion and supporting domestic insurgency.

In his academic life, Maurice was as respected for his graduate and undergraduate teaching as for his research and publication. He helped drive the passion at Sussex for the benefits of interdisciplinary study.

One of his undergraduates, the best-selling historical novelist Philippa Gregory, has said that Maurice’s course was such a powerful experience, inspiring her with his “élan and impatience”, that it transformed her life. (She has also publicly described him as irascible and idiosyncratic!)

At various times, Maurice held the positions of Senior Tutor and Senior Proctor at Sussex, as well as chair of the History subject group, but ill health led to early retirement in 1979.

He continued to be active in research and in 1989 enjoyed a term teaching in Beijing, at a crucial time for China opening up connections with the West.

Many former and present members of teaching staff will be attending Maurice's funeral on 31 May.


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Posted on behalf of: History
Last updated: Wednesday, 22 May 2013