The following first appeared in the In Memoriam webpages of the Development and Alumni Office of the University of Sussex, and is re-published here by kind permission.

Tony Nuttall 1937-2007

Tony Nuttall's early death will distress many former colleagues who remember him well from his time at Sussex; our sincere condolences to his family. This obituary note draws on several of the published obituaries that have appeared, to which references are given below.

Tony came to Sussex in 1962, and left it for Oxford in 1984. His first degree was in Classics and English, and through his career as an English teacher he 'never turned his back on his classical training - he would say "I keep my Greek in reasonable repair" - and Greek and Latin texts are constantly referred to and given his own English translations, in his published work'. 'The way in which he moved naturally between disciplines is indicated by the fact that he wrote his BLitt thesis on the philosophical issues raised by Shakespeare's The Tempest [which] turned into his first book, Two Concepts of Allegory' (1967); another early book was A Common Sky: Philosophy and the Literary Imagination (1974). This cross-disciplinary ease obviously suited him well to Sussex, where he had a leading role in the development of the famous Modern European Mind contextual 'which placed some of the great modernist writers in their intellectual context, so that students read Dostoevsky or Lawrence along with Freud, Conrad or Sartre along with Marx, Thomas Mann along with Nietzsche'. Perhaps more strikingly, he took a real interest in aspects of biology, once giving a lecture on difficulties in the Darwinian theory of natural selection, whose objections Maynard Smith reportedly took seriously. His many later books ranged widely over period and genre; he continued to publish after retirement, and his last book, Shakespeare the Thinker, is due out in April. He was an inspiring and conscientious teacher too, much valued by his students.

Tony's formal career at Sussex took him from Assistant Lecturer to Professor of English in 1973, and then to Pro-Vice Chancellor in 1978; the last was an imaginative and excellent appointment, surprising as that might seem - he carried out an administrative job with the same commitment as he showed in his teaching and writing, and was well respected there too. He moved to Oxford to a fellowship with a heavy teaching load, but became Professor of English there in 1992, and was made Fellow of the British Academy in 1997.

Everyone will have their anecdote about Tony. Mine is the memory of being in his office and noticing that the bottom drawer of his filing cabinet was labelled 'beer'. He opened it, and sure enough it was completely filled by a crate of beer-it fitted in just nicely.

Jennifer Platt

Newspaper obituaries:
The Independent, 8th February 2007 (Larry Lerner and Angela Lambert);
The Telegraph, 3rd February 2007 (no author given).

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