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I’m sure others have discovered this already, but all four volumes of James Henry’s life’s labor, the Aeneidea are available on Google Books in multiple editions. If you’re not familiar with James Henry, we’ll first consider him as a scholar, then as a sadly symapthetic figure:
Among Latin scholars in Ireland we note the name of James Henry (1796–1876), the gold medallist of Trinity College, Dublin, who practised as a physician till 1845, when he published a verse translation of Aeneid i and ii. After travelling abroad, he produced in 1853 his ‘Notes of a Twelve Year’ Voyage of Discovery in the First Six Books of the Aeneis.’ His personal knowledge of all the best MSS and editions of Virgil is embodied in the four volumes of his larger work, the Aeneidea (1873–1998), which includes many original and valuable contributions to the interpretation of the text.
—Sandys iii. 346
Here are the texts, including the early translation and the later critical editions:
- The Eneis (1845)
- Notes of a Twelve Years’ Voyage (1853)
- Aeneidea: Volume 1 (1873)
- Aeneidea: Volume 2 (1878)
- Aeneidea: Volume 3 (1889)
- Aeneidea: Volume 4 (1889)
And now the sad part:
At age 11 he fell in love with the poetry of Virgil and got into the habit of always carrying a copy of the Aeneid in his left breast-pocket. … He married Anne Jane Patton, from Donegal, and had three daughters, only one of whom, Katherine, born 1830, survived infancy.
. . . . .
When his wife died in Tyrol he continued his work with his daughter, who became quite a Virgil expert in her own right, and crossed the Alps seventeen times. After the death of his daughter in 1872 he returned to Dublin and continued his research at Trinity College, Dublin.
The one constant in his life seemed to the poem, as his infant daughters, his wife, and finally his daughter Katherine died. From boyhood to his own final days he had Virgil as his guide. One wonders if he ever saw himself as Dante and sought consolation in verse.
Posted by Dennis » 6 Comments »
I’ve read on rogueclassicism of the death of Kenneth Dover, and thought it might be worth sharing what may be the first assessment of his work as a Hellenist in print.
When Kenneth Dover was just 19 (in 1939) Oxford published his winning lines for the Gaisford Prize for Greek Verse. His model was a selection of 113 lines from Racine’s Phèdre, and this publication was reviewed very favorably by the great Lionel Pearson (perhaps best known for The Local Historians of Attica, published three years after this review), who wrote that this “Oxford prize version in iambic trimeter is a reminder that the wholesome and fascinating practice of Greek verse composition has not been abandoned by English undergraduates and that their standard is a high one.”
I’d like to quote at length to show the respect the young Dover earned from Pearson, and which he should still command from us now:
The opening scene of the Phèdre introduces a theme entirely strange to the story told by Euripides. Hippolytus, after first giving the excuse that it is high time he departed in search of his absent father, explains to his tutor Theramenes that he must flee from Troezen because he has fallen in love with Aricia, whom he can never marry because of his father’s deadly feud with her brothers, the Pallantidae; and since he has not yet performed any heroic exploits, he dares not face the shame which his love is likely to bring him if he remains behind; the irregular loves of Theseus, he feels, can be excused only in consideration of his benefits to civilization; he himself cannot give that excuse
ὡς ταὐτὸ κείνω πανδίκως φράσαι παθεῖν.
Such argument is in the Euripidean spirit and it is admirably presented in lucid idiomatic Greek.
— CW 33. 5 (1939), p. 52
At 19 Dover was a master of Greek verse in a way that it seems none of us can be today, and in that he seems to have belonged to another time. The scholar he became seems just as out of time, but I suppose great scholars always do.
Reading through his commentaries (e.g., his Theocritus is still the best in my eyes) is an experience unmatched by more modern, chattier, less-definite works. He could be authoritative while being frank about the state of the evidence, cutting through the common mistakes and false suppositions of other editors without condescending. He was, unlike so many, willing to say that a question could not be answered, and both his front matter and notes were tempered by good judgment and attention to the needs of his readers. (Too often today scholars are prone to cram their research into every page, whether the reader needs it or not.)
I’ll be giving some time again to reading through his works and finding inspiration from his example.
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NB: We have ended our partnership with Zazzle. Please visit our new store, Classical Geek. We hope to have a new mug vendor soon.
Get your drink on from a cup that’s guaranteed to please: Nestor’s Drinking-Cup! Our latest offering is based on the 8th century BCE cup that you can read more about at Wikipedia. I remember working out the inscription as an undergraduate, and it’s always held a special place in my heart. Now I can hold it in my hands. As for the promise of the inscription, we are not liable for failure to find love.
Here’s my version in English:
I’m Nestor’s easy-drinkin’ drinking-cup:
And whoever drinks it up from this drinking-cup,
longing for lovely-crowned Aphrodite will snatch up!
(I left a bit out, I know.)
I agonized over the design, but we finally decided that simple would be best. A classic, uncluttered cup that’s easy to read (as long as you can read archaic Greek!)—it can even be used as a teaching tool. And for another $2 you can upgrade to a 15 oz. mug.
I had completely forgotten about about our other recent mug, which I have to say I think is really attractive: Aeneas and Anchises:
And don’t forget the reverse of this mug:
Why not buy both for the classicist in your life?