Wednesday, March 13, 2019


Circumstances Favorable to Concentration and Reflection

Richard Johnson Walker (1868-1934), Euripidean Fragments Emended (London: Burns Oates & Washburn Ltd, 1920), Introductory Note:
The four following papers — I can think of no better term — were written by me in the Argentine Republic in the spring (to the north of the Equator it was the autumn) of 1919. One after another I sent them to a friend in England to deal with as best he could. He and I find that the simplest course is to present them as a small book; to which, being on a visit to Spain, I am just in time to prefix these words of explanation and apply a few necessary touches of rapid revision.

May 30, 1920.
Id., p. 1:
The following attempts at emendation of Fragments of Euripidean plays having titles beginning with A (about a quarter of the whole) are the result of a month's sea-voyage. The circumstances were exceptionally favourable to concentration and reflexion. My detachment was completed by the fact that I took with me no classical books whatever except Nauck's Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta and Kirchhoff's Euripides (which does not include the Fragments), though later I contrived with difficulty to purchase on shore a small Greek-Spanish lexicon, which I have employed as a check on my accentuation. I am not without hope that under these novel conditions I have here and there really seen new light. But that is for the reader to judge.
Id., p. 13:
The time has arrived for me to submit the second quarter of my task, namely a treatment of various Fragments of Euripides that come from plays with initial letters ranging from B to O (Greek alphabet), both inclusive.

It has proved possible on land to reproduce to some extent the isolation of a sea-voyage, and I still have access to no classical books whatever, except those mentioned in my previous instalment. Work under such conditions possesses, I think, a certain value, as it incontestably possesses a certain fascination, of its own.
The book is dedicated to the memory of William Ross Hardie (1862-1916), who taught the author at Balliol College, Oxford. The author was the son of Frederick William Walker (1830–1910), High Master of Manchester Grammar School and St. Paul's School, London, and Maria Johnson.

Reviews of the book:
Walker was an odd character — see especially the lengthy dedication (to Michael James O'Doherty) of his The Ichneutae of Sophocles (London: Burns and Oates Ltd., 1919).

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