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Arthur Thomas Hatto

Arthur Thomas Hatto (11 February 1910 – 6 January 2010) was an English scholar of German studies at the University of London, notable for translations of the Medieval German narrative poems Tristan by Gottfried von Strassburg, Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach, and the Nibelungenlied. He was also known for his theory of epic heroic poetry, and related publications. He retired in 1977, and in 1991 the British Academy elected him as a Senior Fellow.

Arthur Thomas Hatto
Born(1910-02-11)11 February 1910
London
Died6 January 2010(2010-01-06) (aged 99)
NationalityEnglish
Years active1934–1977
TitleProfessor
Spouse(s)Rose Margot Hatto (née Feibelmann)
Children1
Academic background
Alma materKing's College London
ThesisA Middle German Apocalypse edited from the manuscript British Museum, Add. 15243 (1934)
InfluencesFrederick Norman, Robert Priebsch, John Rupert Firth
Academic work
DisciplineGerman Language and Literature
InstitutionsQueen Mary College, London
Notable worksTranslations of Tristan, Parzival, and Nibelungenlied

Early life and educationEdit

Hatto was born in London on 11 February 1910.[1] His father was Thomas Hatto, a solicitor's clerk who later became the Assistant Chief Solicitor in the British Transport Commission legal service, and his mother Alice Hatto (née Waters), a nurse.[1] The family lived in Forest Hill, and later Clapham.[1] As an eight-year-old boy at the end of World War I, Hatto spent a formative summer "running wild", as he put it, with an aunt in the "still semi-pagan" village of Barcombe;[1] Hatto's interest in the community and its surroundings, a rural landscape far removed from his London roots as the son of a solicitor's clerk, foreshadowed his interest in the intricacies of human society.[2]

In 1923 Hatto was awarded a scholarship to Dulwich College, where he entered on the modern side and studied German, Latin, and French, among other subjects, with middling results.[3] He met more success at King's College London, where his father, refusing to see his son "loll on a Sixth Form bench", sent him in 1927.[4] Hatto studied there with Robert Priebsch, Frederick Norman, and Henry Gibson Atkins.[4] Norman, who had such an influence on Hatto that he forever after referred to Norman as "my tutor", recognised Hatto's potential in academia; he refused to take back Hatto's books at the end of term, stating "No, not yours, Mr Hatto, you will be needing them in years to come!"[4]

In an effort to improve his German, Hatto left in 1932 for the University of Bern, where through John Rupert Firth's earlier instruction he became a Lektor for English.[5] While teaching, Hatto also studied under Helmut de Boor and Fritz Strich.[5] In 1934 King's College awarded him a London MA with distinction, for which his thesis was entitled "A Middle German Apocalypse edited from the manuscript British Museum, Add. 15243"; Hatto argued that the manuscript was written between 1350 and 1370 in south-west Thuringia, and that it was related to the early fifteenth-century MS Meiningen 57.[6] That same year he returned to King's College, having picked up the local dialect Bärndütsch, and bringing back with him Rose Margot Feibelmann, a medical student from Düsseldorf whom he would marry the next year.[5] As she was Jewish the move likely saved her life and those of her parents, who followed in March 1939.[5]

Hatto returned to London, settling first in Radlett and later in Mill Hill, to take up an Assistant Lectureship in German at King’s College.[7] After four years the position was no longer needed, and Norman, a mentor to Hatto, recommended him for a new lectureship at Queen Mary College, London.[8] Hatto was chosen over many applicants—in part, he thought, because the Principal, Sir Frederick Barton Maurice, admired his skill at rugby.[9][note 1] In 1938 he therefore became the Head of the Department of German, a position he would hold until his retirement in 1977.[11]

World War IIEdit

Hatto's appointment at Queen Mary College had barely begun when he was recruited in February 1939, on the recommendations of Maurice and Norman, to work in the cryptographic bureau at the Foreign Office, in Room 40.[11] Norman was working there also, and on 3 September the two were sent to Bletchley Park, where they worked under John Tiltman.[11] At least two other professors of German, Walter Bruford and Leonard Ashley Willoughby, had served there during World War I, and many more would serve during World War II;[11] a so-called "nursery for Germanists", Bletchley Park included amongst its World War II ranks Bruford, Leonard Forster, Kenneth Brooke, Trevor Jones, C. T. Carr, D. M. Mennie, R. V. Tymms, Dorothy Reich, William Rose, K. C. King, F. P. Pickering, and H. B. Willson.[11]

Hatto was well suited to the task with his philological background and fluent German, and was tasked with scrutinising existing ciphers to look for hints of future ciphers.[12] One of his successes was discovering three-letter call signs in the preamble to messages that served as the key to communications between the German land, sea and air arms of the Third Reich's combined Wehrmacht forces, thereby aiding the Allied forces before the Allied invasion of Sicily.[13] After Germany fell part of Hatto's section was dispatched to Tokyo, by way of Ceylon.[13] Hatto was invited along by Denys Page but declined somewhat reluctantly, for his daughter, Jane, had just been born.[13]

Hatto kept silent about his wartime work, even after the work done at Bletchley Park was revealed in F. W. Winterbotham's 1974 book The Ultra Secret.[13] Though not named in the book he was nevertheless alarmed; according to a colleague, the book's release left him afraid of being kidnapped by the Soviets to the Lubyanka, "so far removed from the Reading Room of the British Museum".[13]

CareerEdit

Wartime duties kept Hatto busy until 1945, although from 1944 on he was allowed to lecture in Medieval German at University College London one day a week.[14] He returned to Queen Mary College in 1945 to find the school struggling with its finances and enrollment.[15] As the war became more distant, however, he grew a strong German Department; composed of himself and a part-time colleague when he started, at Hatto's retirement the department had five full-time staff and one and a half language assistants.[15] In 1946 the University of London made him a Reader in German, and in 1953 he was promoted to Professor.[15]

Though much of his scholarly output was addressed to an academic audience, Hatto's best-known works are translations of three Medieval German poems: Tristan by Gottfried von Strassburg, Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach, and the Nibelungenlied.[16][17] These were three of what Hatto saw as the four great German narrative poems of the age; the fourth, Willehalm, was translated by one of Hatto's pupils.[18] Following the translation of Tristan, Hatto received an invitation from a professor of German at the University of Auckland to visit for several months in 1965.[19] The ensuing trip around the world took Hatto to Istanbul, Delhi, Kathmandu, Bangkok, Auckland, Wellington, Fiji, Hawaii, California, the Grand Canyon, and New York, where he acquired a KirghizRussian dictionary.[19]

Hatto retired in 1977,[20] by which time he had had at least 72 works published.[21]

Personal lifeEdit

Hatto and his wife Margot had a daughter, Jane, and a son-in-law, Peter.[22] They remained married until her death in 2000.[17] Hatto himself died of bronchopneumonia shortly before turning 100, on 6 January 2010, at Field House in Harpenden.[22][23]

PublicationsEdit

  • For a list of publications through 1977, see Griffith-Williams 1977; for some subsequent publications, see Flood 2011.
  • Hatto, Arthur Thomas (1934). A Middle German Apocalypse Edited from the Manuscript British Museum Additional 15243 (M.A.). University of London. OCLC 1006100613.
  • Hatto, Arthur Thomas (April 1938). "Minnesangs Frühling, 40, 19ff". The Modern Language Review. Modern Humanities Research Association. XXXIII (2): 266–268. JSTOR 3715015.  
    • Correction published in Hatto, Arthur Thomas (July 1938). "'Minnesangs Frühling', 40, 19ff". The Modern Language Review. Modern Humanities Research Association. XXXIII (2): 422. JSTOR 3715413.  
  • Hatto, Arthur Thomas (July 1938). "'Sînen Dienest Verliesen'". The Modern Language Review. Modern Humanities Research Association. XXXIII (3): 416–422. JSTOR 3715412.  
  • Hatto, Arthur Thomas (January 1939). "Vrouwen Schouwen". The Modern Language Review. Modern Humanities Research Association. XXXIV (1): 40–49. JSTOR 3717128.  
  • Hatto, Arthur Thomas (January 1940). "Archery and Chivalry: A Noble Prejudice". The Modern Language Review. Modern Humanities Research Association. XXXV (1): 40–54. JSTOR 3717406.  
  • Hatto, Arthur Thomas (October 1940). "Were Walther and Wolfram Once at the Same Court?". The Modern Language Review. Modern Humanities Research Association. XXXV (4): 529–530. JSTOR 3717833.  
  • Hatto, Arthur Thomas (October 1941). "Gallantry in the Mediaeval German Lyric". The Modern Language Review. Modern Humanities Research Association. XXXVI (4): 480–487. JSTOR 3717833.  
  • Hatto, Arthur Thomas (July 1944). "The Name of God in Gothic". The Modern Language Review. Modern Humanities Research Association. XXXIX (3): 247–251. JSTOR 3717861.  
  • Hatto, Arthur Thomas (January 1945). "Parzival 183, 9". The Modern Language Review. Modern Humanities Research Association. XL (1): 48–49. JSTOR 3717751.  
  • Hatto, Arthur Thomas (January 1946). "The Name of God in Germanic". The Modern Language Review. Modern Humanities Research Association. XLI (1): 67–68. JSTOR 3717496.  
  • Hatto, Arthur Thomas (October 1946). "'Venus and Adonis'—And the Boar". The Modern Language Review. Modern Humanities Research Association. XLI (4): 353–361. JSTOR 3716727.  
  • Hatto, Arthur Thomas (April 1947). "Two Notes on Chrétien and Wolfram". The Modern Language Review. Modern Humanities Research Association. XLII (2): 243–246. JSTOR 3717233.  
  • Hatto, Arthur Thomas (April 1948). "On Wolfram's Conception of the 'Graal'". The Modern Language Review. Modern Humanities Research Association. XLIII (2): 216–222. JSTOR 3717577.  
  • Hatto, Arthur Thomas (July 1949). "On Chretien and Wolfram". The Modern Language Review. Modern Humanities Research Association. XLIV (3): 280–385. JSTOR 3717658.  
  • Hatto, Arthur Thomas (August 1957). "Snake-swords and Boar-helmets in Beowulf". English Studies. XXXVIII (4): 145–160. doi:10.1080/00138385708596994.  
  • Hatto, Arthur Thomas (December 1957). "Notes and News: Snake-swords and Boar-helmets". English Studies. XXXVIII (6): 257–259. doi:10.1080/00138385708597004.  

Reviews

  • Hatto, Arthur Thomas (January 1939). "Spruchdichtung des Volkes. Vor- und Frühformen der Volksdichtung by Robert Petsch". The Modern Language Review. Modern Humanities Research Association. XXXIV (1): 114–115. JSTOR 3717165.  

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Maurice, who had schooled at St Paul's, asked Hatto during the interview whether he had participated "in the famous match between Dulwich and St Paul's", to which Hatto replied "Yes, Sir, twice, and beat them twice!"[9] According to Norman, who served as the expert adviser at the interview, once Hatto left the room Maurice exclaimed "That's the man I want!"[10]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d Flood 2011, p. 173.
  2. ^ Flood 2011, pp. 173–174.
  3. ^ Flood 2011, p. 174.
  4. ^ a b c Flood 2011, pp. 174–175.
  5. ^ a b c d Flood 2011, p. 175.
  6. ^ Flood 2011, p. 176.
  7. ^ Flood 2011, pp. 175–176.
  8. ^ Flood 2011, pp. 174, 176.
  9. ^ a b Flood 2011, pp. 176–177.
  10. ^ Flood 2011, pp. 176 & n.4.
  11. ^ a b c d e Flood 2011, p. 177.
  12. ^ Flood 2011, pp. 177–178.
  13. ^ a b c d e Flood 2011, p. 178.
  14. ^ Flood 2011, pp. 178–179.
  15. ^ a b c Flood 2011, p. 179.
  16. ^ Flood 2011, p. 185.
  17. ^ a b The Times 2010b.
  18. ^ Flood 2011, pp. 186, 186 n.26.
  19. ^ a b Flood 2011, p. 188.
  20. ^ Combridge & Fowler 1977.
  21. ^ Griffith-Williams 1977.
  22. ^ a b The Times 2010a.
  23. ^ Flood 2014.

BibliographyEdit