(1937–), British philosophically minded critic and professor at Oxford; he was born in Hereford, and educated at Merton College, Oxford. His A Common Sky (1974) explored the curious consequences, in philosophy and literature, of the restriction of what we think of as secure knowledge to what the senses tell us; above all the resulting isolation of the hesitant and suspicious consciousness. Writers from Sterne to Eliot were seen as grappling with, refuting, acting out, and succumbing to this problem in different ways. Two Concepts of Allegory (1967) offers illuminating readings of romance and allegory in Shakespeare, and A New Mimesis (1983) seeks to establish the continuing claims of realism against a whole host of continental (and other) modes of scepticism. Much of Nuttall's later work, always lively and inquisitive, has been engaged with what he sees as the extravagances of theory. His project is the defence of the given world not against reasonable doubt but against fashionable confusion, and against what he sees as the frivolity of much would-be sophistication. His other works include Pope's Essay on Man (1984), a critical commentary; The Stoic in Love: Selected Essays on Literature and Ideas (1989); Openings: Narrative Beginnings from Epic to the Novel (1992); and an edition of William Shakespeare's Timon of Athens (1989).
From The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Literature in English in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards).