[Sca-cooks] Fwd: [ANSAX-L] Connie Hieatt

Laura C. Minnick lcm at jeffnet.org
Wed Jan 4 10:24:53 PST 2012

We lost Connie Hieatt, one of the scholars responsible for the 
accessibility of a great deal of teh corpus of medieval cookery. She 
will be missed.


-------- Original Message --------






Dear colleagues: I have just learned of the death of my predecessor at Western, Connie Hieatt.
Some of you will know her as an early adopter of email and Ansax, a kind and generous colleague
(she always attended the young scholars session at Kalamazoo because she wanted to find out
who her future friends were going to be), and a fine scholar. I'm attaching below a short paragraph
I wrote for my colleagues at Western about Connie, and the obit her family composed. jt

Connie and Kent Hieatt spent more than twenty years at Western, and together and separately they
will be remembered. Both were blessed with sharp tongues and considerable wit, but also with kindness
and a deep loyalty to friends and to Western. Connie had dogs (small ones resembling mops) that
she carried curled up by her shoulder so that in one hand she could hold the dog and the cigarette,
and her drink in the other. It will surprise no one that she contracted lung cancer in late summer
of 2011.
In addition to the works mentioned in her obituary (which I devoutly hope her relatives ran in all
the same
papers as she put Kent's, including The New York Times), she will be remembered amongst Anglo-Saxonists
for two important articles, on the Dream of the Rood as a dream vision, and especially for her
article on
the envelope structure of Beowulf--which is the only reason that Old English scholars have heard
of English Studies in Canada. She also published extensively on the fabliau-tradition, and her work as
a pioneer in studying medieval cookery will stay firmly in the minds of members of the department who
were privileged to attend, and to cook, for her annual medieval feasts. I certainly will never
forget Jim
Devereux telling me, with tears in his eyes, of the crimes she forced him to commit on an unsuspecting
goose, all in the name of producing a proper medieval dish of it. Nor will I forget Brock Eayrs' tale of
how she assigned him eels for one event, apparently thinking that eels were cheap enough for a
graduate student's means, and obliging him to search the city for his contribution, and to carry two
dead eels home on the bus. Connie and Kent made considerable contributions to the life of the
Department of English at Western. jt

Constance Bartlett Hieatt died at her home in Essex, CT, on December 29, 2011. A professor of
English, a medieval scholar and a pioneer in the field of medieval cookery, Dr. Hieatt moved back to
Connecticut, where she had spent her childhood summers, upon her retirement, as Professor Emeritus,
from the University of Western Ontario. Dr. Hieatt continued her scholarly work and published
numerous works after her retirement, including her latest Cocatrice and Lampray Hay: Late
Fifteenth-Century Recipes from Corpus Christi College Oxford which will be published on Feb. 22,
2012. At the time of her death she was working on the final editing of her last book, The Culinary
Recipes of Medieval England, which will be completed with the assistance of her sister, Ellen
Nodelman, and published posthumously.
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Constance Hieatt grew up in New York City and in Connecticut,
graduating from Friends Seminary, attending Smith College, and earning her bachelors and masters
degrees from Hunter College. She was awarded a fellowship from Yale and earned her Ph.D. in 1960.
Before her entrance into academia, Constance Hieatt worked in a variety of positions in print media
and other businesses in New York City. After two brief marriages, to George Loomis and to Michael
Bodkin, she met and married fellow medievalist A. Kent Hieatt, then teaching at Columbia, forming a
lasting partnership that took the pair from New York City to full professorships at the University
of Western Ontario. They spent their summers at Wytham Abbey, outside of Oxford, England, before
they retired and returned to Connecticut, living first in a house built in back of the old family
home on River Road in Deep River and, finally, in Essex Meadows. Dr. Kent Hieatt died in January of
Like her husband, Dr. Hieatt began her medieval studies as a Chaucerian,but she moved on to focus
her scholarly work largely on writings in Old English and Old Norse. She also formed an interest in
Children’s Literature and taught countless undergraduate courses on that subject. She combined her
fascination with things medieval with her considerable expertise as a cook to begin her
trail-blazing work in medieval cookery. Her substantial publishing record reflects the variety of
her professional interests. She and Kent Hieatt co-authored a children’s version of The Canterbury
Tales in the late 1950’s, The Canterbury Tales of Geoffrey Chaucer - Special Edition For Young
Readers, published by Golden Press and illustrated by Gustav Tengren. Later, they collaborated once
again on The Canterbury Tales, this time the Bantam dual-language edition still in use in schools
and universities the world over. Constance Hieatt also published Beowulf and Other Old English
Poems, again familiar texts to English students past and present, as well as her translation of the
Old Norse saga, Karlamagnus: The Saga of Charlemagne and His Heroes, and a basic text for learning
Old English: Essentials of Old English. Dr. Hieatt wrote a series of children’s books as well, based
on the “Matter of Britain” or Arthurian legends, including Gawain and the Green Knight, The Castle
of Ladies, The Knight of the Cart, The Knight of the Lion, The Minstrel Knight, The Sword and The
Grail and The Joy of the Court. Among her many medieval cookery offerings was the popular Pleyn
Delit: Medieval Cookery for Modern Cooks, co-written with Professor Sharon Butler; Curye on Inglysch
with Sharon Butler; Concordance of English Receipes: Thirteen through Fifteenth Centuries; Libellus
De Arte Conquinaria: An Early Northern Cookery Book with Rudolph Grewe; An Ordinance of Pottage; The
Form of Cury: The Cuisine of the Court of Richard II of England as well as her most recent books
mentioned above.
In the past few years, Constance Hieatt shared her medieval expertise with her fellow residents in
Essex Meadows by giving some very well-received talks on the subject, including one on medieval
cookery, one on Beowulf and, most recently, one on “The Miller’s Tale” from The Canterbury Tales.
She was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and is listed in Who's Who in America and other
reference works.
Dr. Hieatt is survived by her sister and brother-in-law, Ellen and Leonard Nodelman, of Deep River,
CT; her step-daughters, Katherine Hieatt of Brooklyn, New York and Alice Coulombe, of New City, New
York; her grandchildren, Daisy Allen of Los Angeles, California and Zachary Kruskal of Brooklyn, New
York; her nephew, Noah Bartlett, of Washington, D.C. and his sons, Aaron and Jack (Jonathan); her
niece, Rachel Alemany, of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and her sons, Caleb and Jonah Alemany; her
niece, Stacey Nodelman of West Hurley, New York and her daughters, Kaya and Jasper Nodelman; and her
grand niece, Pascal Frey-Nodelman, also of West Hurley, New York; her cousin, Gwynne Grisworld, of
King George, Virginia. She was predeceased by her brother, Jonathan Bartlett, of Deep River,
Connecticut, and her nephew, Adam Nodelman, then of Woodstock, New York. A memorial service is being
planned for a later date, to be announced.

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