Saturday, December 26, 2015


A Foolish Modern Fashion

James Willis, review of P. Venini, P. Papini Stati Thebaidos liber undecimus. Introduzione, testo critico, commenta e traduzione (Firenze: La Nuova Italia, 1970), in Mnemosyne 25.3 (1972) 320-323 (at 322-323):
It would be wrong to blame V. herself for the dropsical state of this commentary. It arises rather from a foolish modern fashion in scholarship which regards acquaintance with secondary literature as the prime quality in a classical scholar, and confounds the knowledge of many books about a subject with the understanding of the subject itself. The editor is only an intermediary between the author and the reader; he is there to help the one to understand the other, not to draw attention to his own erudition, and his maxim should be bene qui latuit, bene vixit.
Related post: The Weakness of Modern Latin Studies.

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