Obituary: Maurice Hemingway

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The Independent Online
Maurice John Dominic Hemingway, Spanish scholar: born London 2 November 1945; Reader in Modern Spanish Literature, Exeter University 1971-92; died Exeter 23 July 1994.

MAURICE HEMINGWAY's early death is a loss to British and to international Hispanism.

His major work was on the late 19th-century Spanish novelist Emilia Pardo Bazan, whom he revaluated in a European context. His discovery of the whereabouts of her library, which had been preserved in the Pazo de Meiras, one of Franco's palaces in Galicia, enabled him to appraise the literary influences which helped to mould her as a writer. His Emilia Pardo Bazan: the making of a novelist (1983), and a stream of articles, reviews and studies on the same subject, brought him distinction in the United States, Spain and France. His edition of Pardo Bazan's unpublished poems was in press at the time of his death.

Hemingway was educated at Rutlish School, and after an undergraduate career at St Catharine's College, Cambridge, and a postgraduate career in Oxford at Worcester College, where he completed a DPhil, he was recruited to the Spanish Department at Exeter University in 1971. There he remained until he took ill-health retirement in 1992. The European perspective which he brought to his scholarship - he spoke French fluently as well as Spanish - was appreciated by many generations of students of Spanish and French at Exeter. They responded to his inspirational teaching, his blend of tolerance, wry humour, perspicacity and understatement. His bons mots enlivened even the most sombre meetings, but he was a meticulous and efficient administrator, particularly as admissions tutor.

Hemingway's Catholicism, to which he was converted whilst at Oxford, and his spirituality which led him on one memorable occasion to make the pilgrimage on foot to Walsingham, were firm and indestructible elements in his life, as was his love for music. He had an excellent baritone voice and was in demand as a soloist in opera and choral concerts; his disappointment at narrowly failing to gain the award of LRCM was matched by the disbelief of those who were conversant with his musical talent.

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