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Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 124. Biographical Memoirs of Fellows, III$
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P. J. Marshall

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780197263204

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197263204.001.0001

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William Smith Watt, 1913–2002

William Smith Watt, 1913–2002

(p.356) (p.357) (p.358) William Smith Watt, 1913–2002
Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 124. Biographical Memoirs of Fellows, III

R. G. M. Nisbet

British Academy

W. S. Watt, known to his friends as Bill, was one of the leading Latin scholars of his time. His long and energetic life makes an impressive story. To look back at it prompts reflection on the changing patterns of education and scholarship in the 20th century. In 1952 Watt was appointed Regius Professor of Humanity in the University of Aberdeen. He became an excellent lecturer who made the right answer very clear even to the less experienced. He gave thought to the future of his best honours students, some of whom with his encouragement moved on to Oxford or Cambridge and pursued successful careers in classics or other fields. He still based his teaching on prepared books and prose composition, following the tradition that was changing in other universities; essays on Latin literature (as opposed to ancient history) were not required, but in later years he set passages for linguistic and literary comment, a form of exercise that is perhaps not practised enough.

Keywords:   Latin scholar, University of Aberdeen, Regius Professor of Humanity, Oxford

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