English and Scottish Literature

Geoffrey Carnall

The Department of English Literature is saddened to hear of the death of Geoffrey Carnall (1927-2015), who retired from his Readership in 1994 but remained with us as an Honorary Fellow until his death.

In his quiet, un-posturing way, Geoffrey was a man of deep principle: something which went with his Quaker and CND connections, with his work for the Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre, and with his special interest later in life with nineteenth-century social reformers. This latter was an academic/ scholarly interest too, for Geoffrey was a scrupulous and enterprising scholar of literature from the 1780s to the 1850s (witness his book on Robert Southey), as he was of Anglo-Indian relations in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His mixture of thoroughness and self-effacingness is evidenced by his substantial and extensive completion, after John Butt's death, of Butt's volume on the mid-eighteenth century for the Oxford History of English Literature. Geoffrey was an eager, considerate and helpful teacher of undergraduates, and painstaking beyond the call of duty in his supervision of postgraduate dissertations. What characterised him was his blended ability to be active and engage in a world of political dissent, sound and reliable in the world of scholarship, and collegial, amiable and fun as a colleague.