Thursday, October 21, 2004
It is hard to leave this subject without railing against the topsy-turvydom of modern classical studies, when over 200 periodicals are abstracted in L'année philologique and there is no complete Plutarch in print, nor a complete Cicero, nor a complete Plato with commentary. Perhaps Orelli and Bekker and Wyttenbach could do such things only because they did not have to read the Literatur; or perhaps scholarly effort was then directed towards gaining a better knowledge of antiquity, while now it is directed towards gaining a better job.How many periodicals are abstracted in L'année philologique today? 1,500. Wow, that's progress! And it's on the Internet, too, if you can afford to pay the subscription fee.
See also Selections from the Brief Mention of Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve, edited by C.W.E. Miller (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1930), p. 361:
The story is told of a Harvard Professor of Greek, one of the old, old time, that when he was asked what he was going to do with himself after his retirement, 'I am going to read the authors,' he said, and it was well. So few professors find time to read the authors.