Saturday, May 28, 2016


Incompetent Botchers

Joshua Whatmough (1897-1964), review of J. Svennung, Compositiones Lucenses. Studien zum Inhalt, zur Textkritik und Sprache (Uppsala: Lundequistska Bokhandeln, 1941), in American Journal of Philology 69.4 (1948) 453-455 (at 454):
It is the merit of the book to demonstrate once more—what ought not to be and would not be necessary, if "scholarship" did not lure so many incompetent botchers beneath its cotton-wool protection from a cold and hard world—that the prime (and final) requirement of a would-be editor, first, last, and all the time, is a complete and accurate knowledge of the language of his text and of the history of it at the date at which the text was compiled. Again and again there are forms here which ninety-nine editors out of a hundred would gaily "emend."

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