Skutsch Letter

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 103 MS ADD 166
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      1 letter with transcripts

Scope and Content

Letter in Latin from Otto Skutsch to Alfred Edward Housman.

Administrative / Biographical History

Otto Skutsch was born on 6 Dec 1906 in Wroclaw, Lower Silesia, the son of Latinist Skutsch Franz. Skutsch studied Classical Philology at the Universities of Breslau, Kiel, Berlin and Gttingen. Among his teachers were Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Felix Jacoby and Eduard Fraenkel. In 1931 Skutsch received his doctorate from Gttingen, and was awarded a scholarship to work on Thesaurus Linguae Latinae in Munich. However, in 1934, Skutsch's scholarship was not renewed because of his Jewish origins. With the help of Houston James Baxter, a professor of church history at St. Andrews, Skutsch emigrated in November 1934 to Scotland, where he remained until 1938. In St Andrews he assisted Alexander Souter with the preparation of Souter's Glossary of Later Latin.

After a year as an assistant at Queen's University in Belfast, Skutsch moved with his British wife Gilian Stewart to Manchester. From 1939-1951 he taught at Victoria University of Manchester. In 1946 he took British citizenship, and in 1951 he rwas appointed Professor of Classical Philology at University College London.

Skutsch was awarded honorary doctorates from the universities of Padua and St Andrews, and was an honorary member of the British Academy of Sciences.

Alfred Edward Housman was born in 1859. He was educated at Bromsgrove School, 1870-1877, and St John's College Oxford, 1877. He left with first class honours in classical moderations, 1879 and took his MA. Afterwards he worked at home for the civil service examination and helped his former headmaster with teaching. He held a post as Higher Division Clerk in the Patent Office, London, 1882-1892 and also found time for classical study and published his first paper, on Horace, 1882. In 1889 he became a member of the Cambridge Philological Society and was appointed Professor of Latin, University College London, 1892-1911. He was Professor of Latin, Cambridge University, and Fellow of Trinity College Cambridge from 1911, and an Honorary Fellow of St John's College Oxford, 1911.

His publications after 1892 were largely concerned with Latin, rather than Greek, and included works on the chief Latin poets from Lucilius to Juvenal, particularly Propertius, Ovid and Manilius. His first published verse was in 'A Shropshire Lad' in 1896. From 1932 he was in poor health. He was Leslie Stephen lecturer at Cambridge in 1932 and delivered a lecture on 'The Name and Nature of Poetry' in 1933. In 1936 he refused the Order of Merit and died later that year.

Numerous publications on Housman include Laurence Housman's 'A E H' (1937). Publications of A E Houseman's own work include: 'A Shropshire Lad' (1896); 'Last Poems' (1922); 'More Poems' (1936) and 'Collected Poems' (1939), published posthumously; editions of classical authors including Manilius Books I-V (1903-1930); various papers on classical subjects in the 'Journal of Philology', 'Classical Review', 'Proceedings' and 'Transactions' of the Cambridge Philological Society, 'American Journal of Philology' and elsewhere.

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Related Material

University College London Special Collections also holds Housman family letters, including letters from A E Housman to his stepmother Lucy Housman, 1875-1901 (Ref: MS ADD 126); papers of Robert E Symons on the literary estates of Laurence and Alfred Edward Housman, 1944-1959 (Ref: MS ADD 200); 11 letters, 1900-1930, from A E Housman to Mildred Platt, wife of Professor John Arthur Platt, Housman's colleague at University College London (Ref: MS ADD 165); correspondence (two items) between Housman and Otto Skutsch, in Latin, and a letter to the 'Sunday Times', 1934 (Ref: MS ADD 166); photocopy of a manuscript poem 'Nonae novembris', with related correspondence dating from 1960, and photocopies of a letter from Housman to Henry Jackson, 1922, with a manuscript poem 'Loveliest of trees ...' (Ref: MS ADD 167); photocopy of a Latin address prepared by Housman for University College London in connection with Sydney University jubilee, 1902, with a letter, 1973, from Professor Arthur Brown containing an extract describing the delivery of the address, and letters from Laurence Housman to Geoffrey Tillotson, 1937 (Ref: MS MISC 4H); letters from A E Housman relating to his appointment and Professorship at University College London, 1892, 1898 (Ref: COLLEGE CORRESPONDENCE); papers, 1959, on the A E Housman Centenary Exhibition at University College London (Ref: MS ADD 294); numerous publications on A E Housman and his work.

British Library, Manuscript Collections, holds diaries of A E Housman, 1888-1891 (Ref: Add MSS 45861, 54349); A E Housman's letters to F M Cornford, 1911-1934 (Ref: Add MS 58427); correspondence (10 items), 1930-1935, mainly with E H Blakeney, and literary MSS (Ref: Add MS 48980); correspondence with the Richards Press, 1927-1936 (Ref: Add MSS 44923-4); Laurence Housman's introduction, 1939-1942, to the diaries of A E Housman, 1888-1891 (Ref: Add MS 45861). Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives, holds lecture notes (Ref: Add 6874-6902); 25 letters to Sir Sydney Roberts, 1926-1933. Cambridge University, Fitzwilliam Museum, holds manuscript poems and miscelleaneous correspondence, 1920-1922. Cambridge University, Trinity College Library, holds 48 letters to his sister, Katherine Symons, 1911-1936. Oxford University, Bodleian Library, Special Collections and Western Manuscripts, holds correspondence with Robert Bridges, 1918-1929 (Ref: Dep Bridges); letters to Gilbert Murray, 1900-1922 (Ref: MSS Gilbert Murray); correspondence with the Society for Protection of Science and Learning, 1934-1935 (Ref: SPSL). Oxford University, Somerville College Library, holds letters to Percy Withers and family, 1919-1935. Oxford University, St Johns College Library, holds a typescript biography by R P Graves. St Andrews University Library holds letters to Sir D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson, 1910-1935. National Library of Scotland, Manuscripts Division, holds 15 letters to the Richards and Ashburner families, 1898-1930. Bryn Mawr College Library holds correspondence, diaries and miscellaneous papers (1400 items), 1870-1936. Harvard University, Houghton Library, holds letters to Sir William Rothenstein and 30 letters to Witter Bynner, 1903-1935. University of Illinois Library, Urbana, holds 120 letters. University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center Library, holds manuscripts and letters. Indiana University, Lilly Library, holds manuscripts and letters. Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, holds poetical notebooks and papers, 1906-1939. Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, holds correspondence and literary manuscripts (157 items), 1922-1958. See 'Location register of twentieth-century English literary manuscripts' (1988).