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learning, replete with parallel passages from all parts of Greek literature, and leading up to some generally sound conclusions. I read the book with much interest and profit. But the editor's first task, of course, was to treat the text and, where possible, emend it. And in this task, which an average English scholar would not have thought difficult, the learned man makes mere howlers. In line 41 he emends årlotin ye návrwv, making a spondee in the fourth foot; in 39 ye Oahuaorov, making an impossible position of ye; and in 40 ły Onpíocol ollaívelv, again making a spondee in the fourth foot and inventing a new verb to do it with. I write this not in order to attack Dr Gerhard. The book is a valuable book. Few English scholars could have collected so much learning on so limited a subject; but no English scholar would have undertaken the task without much more complete scholarship
Take, again, the work of a distinguished and fertile writer like Dr Nicholaus Wecklein. Wecklein has been doing school editions of Greek tragedies for some thirty years, as well as other valuable work. Whenever I lecture on a play I get the Wecklein edition, if it exists; and probably most English scholars do the same. The editions are admirably thorough. Parallel passages, grammatical explanations, MS. readings, discussions of the development of the myth are all fully given. Yet there is hardly one volume which does not occasionally make a competent English Greek scholar smile. Perhaps we cannot write such good books, but we certainly would not write such bad ones. Sometimes it is a mere blunder in verse-writing-an emendation violating Porson's canon, or the like; sometimes it is a general lack of perception; sometimes it is a violent rewriting of the text because the editor has not understood it. I remember a competition being held for the worst emendation of a Greek text that any of those present could recall. Wecklein won, perhaps unjustly, both the first and the second prize. His books are more useful, more learned, more methodical, and vastly more numerous, than, let us say, the works of Professor Butcher or Professor A. Croiset; yet one feels that his mind compared with Croiset's or Butcher's is like that of an industrious journeyman compared with an artist.
The professional against the amateur; the specialist professor against the scholar and gentleman'—these two antitheses take us a long way in understanding the general difference between German and English scholarship. We are always aiming at culture-in Arnold's sense, not Bernhardi's; they are aiming at research or achievement. The weaker sort of scholar on both sides shows the contrast best. The weaker English scholar has probably a certain small number of great classical books, which he knows pretty nearly by heart and expounds in lectures or lessons which are sound as far as they go, but devoid of intellectual curiosity; he can also write prose and verse in the classical languages with a good deal of taste and a slight deficiency of exact knowledge. At the end of his life he will have added nothing to our knowledge of his subject, but he may have made a number of other people read some great literature and study some fine and intricate structures of language with a fair amount of appreciation and thoroughness. The weaker sort of German will set himself to some obscure piece of work which can be achieved by industry without understanding, and which, to the best of his belief, no one has yet done. (If some one has already done it, war ensues; war of an outspoken bitterness which is out of fashion in Great Britain.) There are many such jobs which can be performed by collecting instances of the occurrence of a particular phenomenon in a given author, or even by reading and cataloguing articles in learned periodicals. And the results of such studies are often valuable.
I have taken the weaker type of scholar on both sides to point my antithesis. If one took the best scholars in England and Germany one would, of course, not find these weaknesses. No one could dream of saying that such men as Wilamowitz and Blass and Norden do not know their Greek literature. They know it up and down, in and out, and with a range that could probably not be equalled by any Hellenist of the last two or three generations in England. And one can think of some English scholars who would be hard to beat either in their exact professional learning or in their knowledge of periodical literature.
Prof. von Wilamowitz stands rather apart from
other German scholars. (I have even heard him say in his wrath that the only hope for the future of Greek scholarship was in England.) He has doubtless the imperiousness and energy of the Prussian noble, but he has the passion and imagination of the Slav. He is impatient, brilliant, original, magnificent, unmethodical, a man of genius as well as of enormous learning. He covers a vast field and sometimes splashes superbly into subjects that are not quite his own. He has on occasion made resounding blunders-apparently from sheer haste, because his scholarship is really above reproach. His references are continually a line or two wrong; at times it almost looks as if, instead of verifying his quotations, he was merely trusting to a colossal memory. His sheer learning and technical skill would put him in the front rank of European savants; it would be hard to mention any living scholar who could compare with him. But he adds to his learning a number of gifts which belong rather to the amateur than the professional; vitality, eternal freshness, a real sense of literature and a power of entering into and expounding the thoughts of a poet. And he is never betrayed into wildness or eccentricity. His range reminds one of Hermann ; his vitality of Bentley ; his sense of literature perhaps of Dr Verrall.
I can recall two German criticisms of English scholarship which tell an interesting tale. One was an obituary notice of Sir Richard Jebb, which concluded by the pronouncement that as a philolog he was nothing,' but that as a statesman and man of affairs he commanded the highest respect. The judgment was not dictated by mere perversity. The critic judged a philolog' by his achieved Forschung,' by the mass of his actual discoveries; and such `Forschung' was not Jebb's line. On the other hand, the critic found, as a kind of by-product of Jebb's activity, a considerable amount of public work, especially on educational questions, performed with an ease and familiarity and mastery of ordinary political conditions which genuinely astonished him. He failed to appreciate one side of Jebb's work and was honestly dazzled by the other. The second criticism in my mind is a review of Miss Jane Harrison's 'Prolegomena,' which enquired in a bewildered manner what sort of a book it was and what public it could possibly be meant for? For
Fachgenossen? No, because it was full of imaginative writing and belles lettres, and it gave translations, and even poetical translations, of the passages which it cited from Greek authors. For the ordinary public'? No, because it was full of learning and argument and new theories which could only be followed by a specialist in Greek. There was no public in Germany, said the critic, which would read such a book.
I am inclined to think that the difference here indicated goes deep. There have been several books produced of recent years in England of which one could say this: they are the work of professional scholars possessed of much exact learning and a decided spirit of research, yet the moving impulse which produced the books is really the impulse of an artist. For example, the writings of Mr Cornford, Mr A. E. Zimmern, Mr R. W. Livingstone, Mr Edwyn Bevan's Stoics and Cynics,' Mr J. A. K. Thomson's Studies in the Odyssey,' to say nothing of older works like some by Mr Mackail or Mr Warde Fowler; all these are books that stand as much by their sense of beauty and their imaginative suggestiveness as by the particular conclusions which they try to prove. Yet they are all of them works of definitely technical and professional scholars, men who would probably dally with the thought of suicide if guilty in public of a false quantity or a grammatical blunder. Such books represent an ideal quite different from that of Jebb or Conington, who wrote good editions of the classics in good English and with thorough intelligence, but not from an artistic impulse ; and equally different from that of J. A. Symonds, who wrote artistic criticism of Greek poetry with no pretence to professional scholarship or research.
The nearest class of German books would be, perhaps, the best works of popularisation. Schwartz's two volumes of Charakterköpfe aus der Antiken Literatur' are very good and the work of a fine scholar. But they have not much actual beauty of thought or writing about them, and they have not the spirit of research. The author tells us his results, he does not try to lead us groping
Wendland's Hellenistisch-Römische Kultur' is a wonderfully competent, valuable and interesting book ; it has the charm of research in it as well as
extraordinary command of relevant information. So has Seeck's Geschichte des Untergangs der Antiken Welt,' a book, whatever its faults, which has a real mind behind it. But neither book begins to make the particular artistic or spiritual effort which is at the heart of the English books mentioned above. The Germans of an older generation, like Winckelmann and Schlegel, did pre-eminently make such an effort. The famous Nietzsche, before he gave up Greek and went a-whoring after false philosophies, did some fine work of this character, half-creative and half-critical, but decidedly illuminating. At the present time I can think of only one German who makes this particular effort-Schultz, who writes on 'Ionische Philosophie' and on 'Gnosis.' But he cannot control his impulse. It only leaves him hashing his authorities and passionately floundering in his explanations, and German scholars in general treat him severely. Of course I do not say that English scholars in general approve of this quality which I have ascribed to certain English books. They illustrate a tendency, and a tendency which may be dangerous, for the writer to use his whole mind in his work and not to limit and stunt himself. The true specialist ruthlessly cuts away every interest that may interrupt his particular work, and sets his achievement above his personal development.
In Germany there is more devotion and more loss of proportion. More people are willing to spend their lives in narrow and absorbed pursuit of some object which, viewed in cold blood, possesses no very great importance and no particular illumination or beauty. In England there is more humanity, more interest in life, more common sense, and, as an almost inevitable consequence, less one-sided devotion and less industry. Browning's grammarian would be more at home in Germany. He would be decorated and made a'Geheimrath.'