Sunday, December 27, 2015


Thomas Fitz Hugh

Ward W. Briggs, Jr., article on Thomas Fitz Hugh in Biographical Dictionary of North American Classicists (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1994), p. 184:
FITZ HUGH, Thomas. Born: 12 Oct. 1862, Longwood, VA, to William Henry & Mary Anne Harrison F. Married: Catherine Lefevre, 23 June 1902. Education: M.A. U. Virginia, 1883; study at Berlin, 1892-3, 1899-1902. Prof Exp.: Instr. Lat. Bingham's School (NC), 1881-2; prof. Lat. Central U. (Richmond, KY), 1881-2; first asst. Bellevue HS (VA), 1884-9; prof. Lat. U. Texas, 1889-99; prof. Lat. U. Virginia, 1901-27. Died: 1957.

Thomas Fitz Hugh was born of colonial Virginia stock and after a decade's sojourn in Austin, TX, returned to his old school as the hand-picked successor of Col. William E. Peters. In Charlottesville, he devoted himself to his accentual theory of Latin metrics, a theory he ingrained in his students and first published in 1909, but which he recanted late in his life. He edited the letters of his predecessor George Long and those on classical subjects by Thomas Jefferson.

PUBLICATIONS: The Philosophy of the Humanities (Chicago, 1897); The Outlines of a System of Classical Pedagogy (Berlin, 1900); The Sacred Tripudium, the Accentual and Rhythmic Norm of Italico-Romanic Speech and Verse (Charlottesville, 1909); The Literary Saturnian, the Stichic Norm of Italico-Keltic, Romanic, and Modern Rhythm (Charlottesville, 1910); Indoeuropean Rhythm (Charlottesville, 1912); The Letters of George Long (Charlottesville, 1917); The Letters of Thomas Jefferson Concerning Philology and the Classics (Charlottesville, 1918).
Although I'm unqualified to judge, Fitz Hugh (also spelled FitzHugh or Fitz-Hugh) seems to have been a bit of a crank, ignored or mocked by other scholars for his heterodox metrical theories. Most of his publications appeared in the Bulletin of the School of Latin, University of Virginia (Charlottesville). I've compiled the following list, but I haven't seen some of the publications, and I can't guarantee the completeness or accuracy of the list:
A few other publications by Fitz Hugh not published in the Bulletin of the School of Latin:
The "J. Fraser" who unfavorably reviewed a couple of Fitz Hugh's works was (I think) John Fraser (1882-1945), Professor of Celtic, Jesus College, Oxford, from 1921 until his death. Here is an excerpt from one of Fraser's reviews (Classical Review 38 [1924] 45):
[T]he details of Professor Fitzhugh's theory have really nothing to support them. The introduction into the argument of the hypothesis of an Italo-Celtic unity involving common principles of metre appears to be based on a misunderstanding of the terminology of linguistic science. The examples of Irish verse which Professor Fitzhugh produces to illustrate the theory merely prove that he should carefully avoid the subject.

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