Item 223 - Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Sir George Trevelyan

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Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Sir George Trevelyan


  • 12 Nov 1916 (Creation)

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c/o Mrs Wilson, Myers Farm, Silverdale, near Carnforth. - Thanks his father for his letter, and for enclosing Dr Jackson's letter, which Robert returns; it is 'altogether... very interesting and delightful', and he is interested to see Jackson 'classes Housman with Porson and Munro'. Has seen some of Housman's work on Aeschylus, which is 'very brilliant, perhaps almost too bold'; Housman later gave up Greek scholarship completely, and 'probably is now the greatest living English Latin scholar', though Robert is 'unfamiliar with his work, except his preface to Manilius, which is very amusing at the expense of his predecessors'. The text of Manilius, however, does not attract Robert enough for him to work at it. Housman is 'an agreeable person to meet at the Trinity High-table'. It is 'remarkable that a really great scholar should be himself an English poetical classic, a small one, no doubt, but very complete and genuine so far as he goes'.

Dr. Jackson's 'remarks on the future of English scholarship are very interesting'; fears they may be true, though past scholarship 'will have rendered the classics far more accessible in future for those who go to them for their own sake', and these may be 'almost as many as in the old days of universal compulsory classics'. A 'certain type of higher-brained scholarship will also probably be kept alive by the constant discoveries of papyri in Egypt and elsewhere'; recently saw a papyrus of 'a great part of Theocritus, containing many new readings', which he does not think has been edited yet. This should be 'of great interest, since Theocritus is an old battle-ground for emendators, so a really early MS might have a lot of amusing surprises'.

Has 'always thought Petronius a little over-rated', but as far as he remembers, the banquet of Trimalchio is 'far the best part'. Generally, he used to much prefer Apuleius' Golden Ass; could 'never read the Greek novels, except Longus [his Daphnis and Chloe], which is not a novel but a prose pastoral', the loveliest he knows 'in any language'.

Is very glad that his mother will be well enough to go to Welcombe on Friday. Leaves here on Friday; the Shiffolds will be his address, though he will not actually be back there for a few days. Has to be in London on Thursday, 'trying to hurry up the printing' of the Annual [of New Poetry]

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