Item 85 - Letter from Henry Sidgwick to E. W. Benson

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Add. MS c/100/85


Letter from Henry Sidgwick to E. W. Benson


  • 2 Oct. [1860] (Creation)

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Reports that he is in 'a rustic inn in the Harz', and has been walking that day. Relates some of his experiences at 'a giant meeting of German "Philologues, Schoolmasters and Orientalists" ', which he attended in Brunswick with Professor Herrig. Reports having seen 'two or three celebrated men', including Ewald and Döderlein. Remarks on the 'universally good speaking in the discussions'. Claims, however, that the essays delivered were not very good, but that he heard 'a really splendid translation of Oedipus Tyrannus excellently read by the translator.' Remarks that German is a better language for translating Greek than English.

Claims to have enjoyed his stay in Berlin very much. Passes on greetings from Professor Herrig , the Director and Professor Ranke to Benson, and remarks on the kindness shown to him by Herrig. Comments on 'What a rum little old boy' Ranke is, and relays a story told by Ranke of being compared to Lord John Russell Refers to a portrait of the Director in the 'Berlin Exhibition of pictures'. Relates that he was present at three of four ' "Stunden" ' in his school, and remarks that politics and coffee at Stehely's [café]' 'formed a very pleasant item in the order of the day.'

Claims to be very slow in learning to speak German. Announces that he is now proceeding to the Rhine, where he intends to spend about ten days, after which he plans to return to England. Hopes to spend a night with Benson on his way to Cambridge to recount his experiences, 'and to see the young prince [his nephew].' Hopes that all is going on well. Presumes that Benson has begun work again, and hopes to hear a good account of the prospective chapel also. Concludes the letter at Göttingen, where he has been to pay a visit to Professor Benfey. The latter, he believes, has 'a European reputation in the Semitic languages.' Refers to the many erroneous notions current in England about the German universities of Göttingen, which he declares to be a dull town. Asks him to forward 'the enclosed' [not included].

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      Part transcription in Sidgwick, Arthur, and Sidgwick, E. M, 'Henry Sidgwick'. London: Macmillan, 1906, p 58-60

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