Sunday, January 06, 2019


Settling Accounts

Ward W. Briggs, Jr., "Basil L. Gildersleeve at the University of Virginia," in Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve: An American Classicist, edd. Ward W. Briggs, Jr., and Herbert W. Benario (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), pp. 9-20 (at p. 14, with note on p. 19):
And Gildersleeve clearly walked into a professional conflict with Harrison. A later account in the University Archives cites one cause:25
Harrison did not believe that the written accents handed down in the Greek manuscripts represented the real pronunciation of the ancients and so he accented Greek after the analogy of the Latin. The consequence was that when Dr. Gildersleeve introduced the Greek accents into the University of Virginia and thereby into the South, a serious obstacle confronted him. To give an account of the ensuing conflict would take up much space. Here at the University the conflict was promptly removed by the very personality of Dr. Gildersleeve with his extraordinary learning and brilliancy, but the conflict continued elsewhere between the teachers who used and the teachers who ignored the written accounts.
25 A six-page biographical sketch, author unknown (UVa accession no. 9315).
For "written accounts" read "written accents" (whether the mistake is due to the original or the transcript).

Gessner Harrison (1807-1862)


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