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Episode 417

C. R. M. F. Cruttwell
Tue, 2018-Jun-26 00:57 UTC
Length - 3:14

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Welcome to featured Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of the featured Wikipedia article every day.

The featured article for Tuesday, 26 June 2018 is C. R. M. F. Cruttwell.

Charles Robert Mowbray Fraser Cruttwell (23 May 1887 – 14 March 1941) was a British historian and academic who served as dean and later principal of Hertford College, Oxford. His field of expertise was modern European history, his most notable work being A History of the Great War, 1914–18. He is mainly remembered, however, for the vendetta pursued against him by the novelist Evelyn Waugh, in which Waugh showed his distaste for his former tutor by repeatedly using the name "Cruttwell" in his early novels and stories to depict a sequence of unsavoury or ridiculous characters. The prolonged minor humiliation thus inflicted may have contributed to Cruttwell's eventual mental breakdown.

After gaining first-class honours at The Queen's College, Oxford, Cruttwell was elected a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford in 1911, and the following year became a lecturer in history at Hertford College. His academic career was interrupted by war service during which he suffered severe wounds; after his return to Oxford in 1919 he became dean of Hertford, and in 1930, principal of the college. It was during his tenure as dean that the feud with Waugh developed while the latter was a history scholar at Hertford, in 1922–24. This hostility was pursued on Waugh's part until shortly before Cruttwell's death.

Cruttwell's term as Hertford's principal saw the production of his most important scholarly works, including his war history which earned him the degree of DLitt. Beyond his college and academic duties Cruttwell held various administrative offices within the university, and was a member of its Hebdomadal Council, or ruling body. In private life Cruttwell served as a Justice of the Peace in Hampshire, where he had a country home, and stood unsuccessfully for the university's parliamentary seat in the 1935 general election, representing the Conservative party. Ill-health, aggravated by his war injuries, caused his retirement from the Hertford principalship in 1939. A mental collapse led to his committal to an institution, where he died two years later.

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