Saturday, January 28, 2006

Gow's Housman

Before Saranike and I head out to do a little book hunting I thought I'd recommend A.S.F. Gow's A.E. Housman: a sketch together with a list of his writing and indexes to his classical papers.

Why that long and odd subtitle? Because one condition of Housman's will was that no one ever collect his published papers into a single volume. He evidently didn't want his early work to stand beside what he considered his life's achievments (Manilius, for one).

Gow's sketch is brief (57 pages with the remainder taken by the bibliography and indexes), charming, and allows Housman to speak humbly about himself often. That would appear to some to be a paradox of his character, but it is perfectly reasonable that someone so well-known for his attacks on the intellectual failings and dishonesty of others would appraise himself as a pedant who counted only as one fourth a Bentley or roughly a Porson.

The harshest critic of other was his own harshest critic.

Next on my list is, appropriately, C.O. Brink's English Classical Scholarship: historical reflections on Bentley, Porson, and Housman. Stay tuned.

No comments: