Item 2 - Letter from William Whewell

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Letter from William Whewell


  • 11 Apr. 1817 (Creation)

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4 pp.

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WW attaches an abstract of Heyne's [Christian Gottlob Heyne] work on Homer's Iliad: 'There is however a piece of injustice which has sometimes been committed and which I hope you will avoid - that of considering those who hold such a disbelief as critical atheists; as if they supposed that this glorious frame of the Iliad had been the work of chance - the result of a fortuitous concourse of letters - now such a specimen of literary Epicureanism is perfectly portentous, and never could with anybody's head even if he believed that the Greek alphabet had existed from eternity (which is contrary to the testimony of history) - the worst that you can say of them is that they are critical Polytheists. Instead of believing only in one Homer the creator of the Iliad & Odyssey they suppose a whole hierarchy of Homers, great and small'. WW gives the grounds for his scepticism. Everybody seems to have forgotten the Union [see WW to HJR, 25 March 1817]: 'we have however sent the petition to the Chancellor to be'. How does HJR's part of Lacroix's [Silvestre F. Lacroix] translation progress: 'I have finished the translation of the first part to art. 81. - Then you begin. I have to complete my introduction (which will not be many pages and wh. therefore must not be mentioned in the title) and in a week or two I shall be ready for the press'.

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