Vivat Germania latina, Vivat Latinitas teutonica!

Richard J. Schoeck

From Lachmann to P. S. Allen:

A Chapter in the History of Classical Scholarship*

There are two parallel and reinforcing lines of thought which lend whatever strength of structure this paper may possess. The first is the indebtedness of late nineteenth-century classical scholarship in England to the masters of the new textual criticism in early and mid-nineteenth-century Germany; and the second is the tracing of P. S Allen's resources for his editing of the correspondence of Erasmus. Let me begin, very briefly for the moment, with the second line of investigation.

P. S. Allen's edition of the correspondence of Erasmus (Opus Epistolarum Des. Erasmi Roterodami printed by the Clarendon Press, Oxford) has been described as "the finest achievement of a single scholar in recent European learning." [1] If that be true—and in my experience it is—it is worth asking what the resources were for Allen's achievement, which was built upon a life-long commitment to the editing of a Renaissance humanist. The line I wish to draw for you today is a fairly straight one: it is a stream that runs from Karl Lachmann to Moritz Haupt, thence to England by means of Henry Nettleship and from him to P. S. Allen at Oxford in the final decades of the nineteenth century. This current of thought and textual theory—metaphors are perilous, and I deliberately shift from stream to the more ambiguous current—cuts through the heart of classical studies during the nineteenth century, and leads to the achievement of such a masterpiece of editing as Allen's edition of the correspondence of Erasmus (begun in 1894 and finally completed by other hands in 1958, two decades after the death of Allen himself, and more than half a century after his launching of the project). And it is a line of development which throws some light on the larger history of classical scholarship, as well as the idea of Altertumswissenschaft, bequeathed to England from nineteenth-century Germany. [2]

One cannot is so brief a paper examine yet again the development of the celebrated and immensely influential critical theory popularly attributed to Karl Lachmann, and expounded in his famous edition of Lucretius in 1850; [3] but as Timpanaro and Kenney have shown, much was due to Madvig and Ritschl, and there were deeper roots upon which the theory grew. [4] But this is the place or occasion for such a broad perspective; nor is it the occasion to take up criticism during the nineteenth century of Lachmann's method—perhaps most striking by Mommsen, who once called Lachmann "the great master of language," but then undercut some of that high praise with the remark that "his emendations are splendid—if only he had known something about the subject!" [5]

Karl Lachmann studied for six years at Göttingen, where the spirit and method of Christian Gottlob Heyne (1729–1812) burned brightly. For, during Heyne's 49 years at Göttingen he not only taught his own courses and wrote his books, he also directed the philological seminar. To be sure, a philological seminar for the training of classical teachers had been instituted at Halle in 1786 by F. A. Wolf (though in this he had been anticipated by J. M. Gesner [1691–1761], who for 27 years was head of the Göttingen classical seminar). [6] The concept of a seminar for the training of classical teachers, and the traditions of its studies of classical texts, must be considered in any full study of the development of Lachmann's method. [7] Wolf's celebrated Prolegomena to Homer of 1795 is almost a casual side-bar to his larger work; but it was in fact an immensely important and influential discussion of the principles on which a classical scholar should deal with the text of an ancient author; and Lachmann had studied the Prolegomena carefully, applying its principles to the study of the Nibelungenlied. [8] Kenney speaks of the apparently inexorable logic on which the conclusions are founded, and the certainty and assurance of the presentation; [9] and his followers were won over to the point of hagiographical sentiments: they spoke of Lachmann as the Prometheus of criticism. [10] Lachmann was much lauded throughout the century, but I shall cite only this praise by Henry Nettleship, first because of its directness and also because Nettleship was a student of Lachmann's greatest disciple, Haupt: "The influence of Lachmann on the general course of philological study was probably greater than that of any single man during the nineteenth century." [11]

Moritz Haupt (1808–1874) was a lifelong friend of Lachmann and succeeded him at Berlin. Haupt's mission (as Wilamowitz put it) was "the spreading of the master's gospel." [12] Like his master, Haupt was a student not only of Greek and Latin but also of early German literature. At Berlin he lectured on the Epistles of Horace, which began as Sandys notes, "with an exposition of the principles to be followed in constituting the text"; and it was these lectures that were attended by the young Nettleship. I shall speak in a moment of the impact upon Nettleship of Haupt's teaching and emphasis on method, but it must be noted that the rule explicitly enunciated by Haupt as the only safe method governing emendation is to follow the rule he enunciated and which was reiterated by Housman: "the prime requisite of a good emendation is that it should start from the thought; it is only afterwards that other considerations, such as metre, or possibilities, such as the interchange of letters, are taken into account . . . [13] Haupt's biographer Belger records that Haupt customarily began his lectures with the words, "the real aim of this course is to teach method." [14] Wilamowitz, sometimes critical of Lachmann in particular and generally critical of a blind faith in method (or via ac ratio), could yet speak of Lachmann's Lucretius, with its commentary, as "the book from which we all have learnt critical method and which every student is required to ponder." [15]

It is not too remarkable then that when Henry Nettleship—recently a graduate in classics at Oxford and a fellow of Lincoln College—decided upon going to Germany to study classics and the new methodology, he went to Berlin and enrolled in a class of Haupt's: it was, as we have seen, in the lecture course on Horace. A student of John Conington (1825–1869), the first Corpus Professor of Latin in Oxford University, Nettleship was supported by Conington and by the rector of Lincoln, the classical scholar with close link to Germany, Mark Pattison; and Pattison furnished Nettleship with introductions to Professor Emil Hübner at Berlin and Jacob Bernays at Breslau. The letters of introduction could not have been addressed to two German scholars more disposed to help a young Englishman; for Hübner had travelled in England and indeed later received an honorary degree from Cambridge in 1883. While in Berlin, Nettleship became an intimate at Hübner's house and enjoyed music and conversation over a wide range of subjects. [16] Of Bernays, I shall speak later.

Nettleship's studies in classical philology continued long after his four months in Berlin, as did his continuing to learn about German thought and letters. Upon returning to England at the end of the summer of 1865 he was filled with new ideas and fresh enthusiasms and settled into life in an Oxford college, where he became Corpus Professor of Latin (1878). Among a number of public lectures, at the end of his first year (May 1879) he gave one on Moritz Haupt, a kind of inaugural lecture, if you will. Early in the lecture on Haupt Nettleship commented on the lecture by Haupt which he had heard a quarter-century earlier:

. . . these lectures introduced me to a method of teaching which was wholly unknown at the time in Oxford, and perhaps in England. We learned in Oxford to read the classics, to translate them on paper, to think and talk about them, to write essays on them; but of the higher philology, of the principles of textual criticism, in other words, of the way to find out what the classical writers really said, we were taught next to nothing. [17]

Lachmann's method and the full sweep of classical scholarship—including the developing concept of Altertumswissenschaft—has now crossed the Channel.

We turn to P. S. Allen at Oxford, and the university setting is a necessary point to develop. For it was at Oxford that Allen formed his lifelong love of Erasmus and developed a concept of, a respect for, text that would serve him in editing the correspondence of Erasmus.

Percy Stafford Allen (1869–1933) was well schooled in Latin and Greek at Clifton College before coming up to Corpus Christi College, Oxford, in 1888. [18] After having obtained a first in classical honour moderations in 1890, Allen took only a second in final schools (Literae Humaniores), which hurt his chances at a fellowship in an Oxford college. During 1892–1893 (Allen remaining at Oxford), Froude was delivering his famous lectures on Erasmus, [19] and in the summer of 1893 Allen dedicated himself to the ambitious task of editing the letters of Erasmus: this he did in the rooms of the Rev. Charles Plummer, a senior fellow of Corpus who was himself editing medieval texts with great distinction. Several of the fellows of Corpus (chief among them Arthur Sidgwick and Thomas Fowler) were competent in matters of textual criticism, and that year Falconer Madan gave a course of Mediaeval Palaeography (in the Hilary Term, 1894). Here Allen found (I judge from his meticulous notes preserved in Bodl. MS. Allen ???) a lucid exposition of several hands and also a brief guide to collation (fo. 29), which Allen largely followed. It is therefore an exaggeration to say (as Mrs. Allen says in her preface to the Letters of P. S. Allen), "there was no one to direct PSA in starting his edition" (p. 12). While Allen was a student at Corpus, he attended the series of lectures that Nettleship gave, and he likely as well attended the public lectures Nettleship gave as Corpus Professor of Latin. Despite the difference in their ages—there was roughly thirty years between—Nettleship would have been accessible to Allen at the college. In his letters Allen was critical of his lectures, but his was a high standard which few met. His critical judgment of a lecture did not necessarily stand in the way of a warm regard for the person, or even for his scholarship. Thus he could as an underclassman write of Plummer's lecture on divinity that it "is not by any means good and moreover it is as uninteresting as it is unnecessary"; [20] yet he loved the man, and it was later Plummer who married Percy and Helen Allen.

We turn to Allen's edition of Erasmus. Remarkably—and I shall comment further on this decision—Allen took two copies of the 1642 London edition (Epistolarum Erasmi, in folio); [21] and he cut and pasted all the letters in that edition, to act as the foundation of the new edition and to save copying the letters already printed. [22] Let us turn to Allen's own account in the Preface to Volume 1 of his edition (pp. vii–viii):

The sources for the correspondence are various, with very different degrees of authority: original letters in the handwriting of Erasmus and his friends; letters copied by his servant-pupils; letters copied by contemporaries or by later hands; books printed in his lifetime, where the orthography varies considerably according to the practice of the printer; and books printed under the direction of later scholars, whose critical standards unhappily allowed them to adopt the orthography deemed correct in their own day in preference to that of the originals. (p. vii)

Clearly, for orthography there could be no appeal to a single authority; and there could be no thought of constructing on Lachmann's method a single model for the entire correspondence of more than 3,100 letters. Quite simply, Allen writes, "I have contented myself with the endeavour to reproduce with fidelity the earliest source available in each case, except where obvious depravation of the text has rendered correction necessary" (vii)); and he presents his practice in handling contractions and abbreviations (which he did not attempt to preserve), punctuation; and capitalization.

To confront the matter of text, Allen writes:

In the case of Erasmus' letters published during his lifetime, the text here printed has been constructed by collating the London volume with the earliest authorized editions. The former [the London folio of 1642] was printed from one of the final Basle editions, either of 1538 or 1541, and as the successive Froben volumes were printed from one another more or less closely, it has not been necessary to do more than trace the variants through the sequence of editions; for experiment has shown that it is only very rarely that a change is introduced into an intermediate edition and removed in a later one, and such changes are either errors or entirely negligible. The present text [he writes with clear emphasis] is therefore not an exact reproduction of any one edition but a conflation from all. (pp. vii–viii)

A conflation from all: this is a bold assertion, but an honest one. Had he thought it necessary to nail up an epigraph to his editorial statement, it might well have been taken from August Ludwig von Schlözer (1735–1809): "there is something in criticism which cannot be subjected to rule, because there is a sense in which every case is a special case." [23]

Let me at this point anticipate a question that is likely to be raised. How can Allen's editorial practice of using a seventeenth-century reprint as his copy text be justified by strict twentieth-century standards of textual criticism? [24] Allen, who lectured on the transmission of the classics from ancient to modern times, was richly aware of the limitations of the genealogical approach, and he clearly felt that it was not possible or feasible—or, in most instances, necessary—to construct a stemma codicum for each individual letter. Perhaps he had read and pondered von Schlözer's dictum that there is a sense in which every case or text is a special case. [25]

Still more, there is the meticulous collation, together with checking and reading of proofs, which Allen applied to each letter. Every letter was customarily read in manuscript or an early printed text against the reading of the London edition; then the text was copied and checked at that time. Wherever possible, it is clear that Allen's wife or sister provided an additional pair of eyes to collate and proofread in addition to Allen himself. [26]

Thus, a procedure which no one would have applied to the editing of a single sixteenth-century manuscript on its own—free-standing, as it were, without the complex questions of authority and uniformity Allen detailed—served Allen well for his edition of more than 3,000 letters. [27]


My account has been all too cursory, for it traverses a full century and a little more of intense research and publication in scholarship; and it moves across the Channel from Germany to England. But I trust that even so, it will have called attention to a significant line of development from Karl Lachmann to P. S. Allen. There were of course certain other scholars who in fact played a role in that development of theory, practice and teaching whom I have not yet mentioned. One who must be noted was Jacob Bernays (1824–1881), whose connections with England also had historical importance. Hugh Lloyd-Jones has noted that Bernays, who visited England, "made friends with Mark Pattison, who shared his interest in Scaliger. . . . Through Pattison he [Bernays] met Ingram Bywater (1840–1914), whose first book, a collection of the fragments of Heraclitus, shows his influence, as does Bywater's later important work on the Poetics and Ethics of Aristotle." [28]

Lachmann was well received in England by some but not all editors, and not even by all classical scholars. In P. S. Allen we find a classical scholar who had been trained by some of the best teachers in England, some of whom had links with Lachmann and Haupt, especially Henry Nettleship. Allen was a dedicated scholar who set himself an immense task and achieved it—or, rather, died with about three-fourths of his Erasmus in print and the rest in view (and completed by his widow and a younger Oxford colleague, H. W. Garrod). A scholar may do any number of things, Wilamowitz-Moellendorf has reminded us in his Geschichte der Philologie, "and may do them in any number of ways; but there is one thing he must be if he is to achieve anything that will endure, and that is vir bonus, discendi peritus." [29] Elsewhere I shall write of Allen as vir bonus and of his commitment to teaching; here it must suffice to quote what were almost Allen's final words: "I do want to be good." [30]

* I hope that my sciolistic trespass upon the well-cultivated gardens of classical scholars will be permitted. Here it is proper (observing the letter as well as the spirit of the topos of such expressions as this) to pay tribute to those who have gone before me in the pursuit of textual lines of investigation: John E. Sandys Rudolf Pfeiffer Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorf E. J. Kenney Paul Maas (upon whose manual Textual Criticism I built a summer postdoctoral seminar in 1974) and L. R. Reynolds and N. G. Wilson among others.

[1] Thus the learned medieval scholar F. M. Powicke—see Bodl. MS. Allen 257, Fo. 131.

[2] It was F. A. Wolf, apparently, who first employed the term to designate an approach to classical studies that subsumed all aspects of the ancient world, including religion—see Rudolf Pfeiffer, History of Classical Scholarship (Oxford, 1976), p. 183; cf. also p. 175 of Wolf's Prolegomena and the concept of Altertumswissenschaft presented there.

[3] That has been admirably studied by Sebastiano Timpanaro in "La genesi del metodo del Lachmann," in Biblioteca del Saggiatore 18 (1963), expanded and corrected in a German translation in 1971: Die Entstehung der Lachmannschen Methode (1971). See Pfeiffer, History, p. 190, and Kenney, The Classical Text (1974), pp. 105 ff. In his annotating of Wilamowitz's Geschichte, Hugh Lloyd-Jones observes that Timpanaro had shown that "the credit for having invented the method which has been associated with his name belongs in the main to Bernays, Madvig and Haupt" (p. 131 n.)

[4] One should go back at least to Valla and Erasmus; and more attention needs to be paid to J. J. Scaliger as well (as has been done by Anthony Grafton).

[5] Quoted by Wilamowitz in his Geschichte: see Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorf, History of Classical Scholarship, ed. Hugh Lloyd-Jones (Baltimore, 1982), p. 131. It is notable that Wilamowitz's remark implicitly criticizes Lachmann for a deficiency in Altertumswissenschaft.

[6] See John E. Sandys, A History of Classical Scholarship, 3d ed. (Cambridge, 1921; reprinted New York, 1964) III, pp. 5 and 53.

[7] See Sandys, History, III, esp. pp. 18 ff. and 35 ff., and Pfeiffer, History, p. 190. Wilamowitz gives credit for inaugurating the first philological seminary to Gesner—see previous note and see further Lloyd-Jones's note 373 on p. 94. One may echo Wilamowitz's comment that "exercises in which a single teacher does most of the talking should not be allowed to usurp the title of Seminar" (History of Classical Scholarship, p. 94).

[8] Lachmann showed that the German epic, "which attained its final form early in the thirteenth century, could be resolved into a series of twenty primitive lays" (Sandys, History, p. 130, citing Lachmann's Kleinere Schriften (1816), I.i.f.).

[9] Kenney, Classical Text, p. 106.

[10] Kenney, Classical Text, p. 106 n., briefly traces this topos down to A. E. Housman; see further, J. Diggle and F. R. D. Goodyear, The Classical Papers of A. E. Housman, 3 vols. (1972).

[11] Henry Nettleship, Lectures and Essays (Oxford, 1885), I, p. 9. Cf. also Sandys, History, III, p. 131.

[12] It must be noted that Haupt's inaugural lecture at Berlin (1853), "De Lachmanno Critico," ended with the promise that he would imitate Lachmann and encourage others to imitate him to the best of his ability. See Kenney, Classical Text, p. 111, quoting from Haupt's printed lecture in Neue Jahrbücher für das kl. Altertum, Gesch. und deutsche Literatur 27 (14 Jahrgang, 1911), pp. 529–538. See also Wilamowitz, History of Classical Scholarship, p. 141.

[13] I am here following L. D. Reynolds and N. G. Wilson, Scribes and Scholars, 2d ed. (Oxford, 1989), p. 211.

[14] Kenney, Classical Text, p. 110.

[15] Wilamowitz, History of Classical Scholarship, p. 131.

[16] Memoir by Mrs. M. Nettleship, Lectures and Essays, 2d ser. (1895), p. xix.

[17] Lectures and Essays (1885), pp. 1–2.

[18] John Percival (a double first at Oxford) was the first headmaster of Clifton College, which he lifted to a ranking with the great public schools of England by the end of his headmastership (1872–1879), later becoming president of Trinity College, Oxford (1879–1887).

[19] Froude was an enthusiastic supporter of Allen's projected edition; so too was the classical scholar Ingram Bywater (1840–1914), who supported the project at the Press and later spoke of Allen as "the most learned man in Oxford" (Allen, Letters of P. S. Allen, ed. H. M. Allen [Oxford, 1939], p. 29).

[20] Letters of P. S. Allen, p. 5.

[21] This edition is not a simply a reprint of the Froben edition of 1538 and later, and of the London and Leiden editions of 1607 and 1615 and Frankfurt 1610, for it has 115 additional prefaces and letters.

[22] I follow Mrs. Allen's account in her edition of Letters of P. S. Allen, p. 24.

[23] Quoted from Kenney, Classical Text, p. 98, who ascribed the observation to Schlözer on the authority of Sir Herbert Butterfield, Man on His Past (1955), pp. 57–58.

[24] W. W. Greg's rationale for copy text (enunciated early in the twentieth century and fully developed in his Collected Papers [Oxford 1966], esp. pp. 75–88) has been reformulated by Martin L. West, Textual Criticism and Editorial Technique (Stuttgart, 1973); Fredson T. Bowers, esp. in Essays in Bibliography, Text, and Editing (Charlottesville, 1975); James Thorpe, Principals of Textual Criticism (San Marino, CA, 1972); and (in an effort at a definitive statement to replace the earlier authority of R. B. McKerrow) Philip Gaskell, From Writer to Reader: Studies in Editorial Method (Oxford, 1978). It is to be noted that the classical scholars of the nineteenth century were working with Latin and Greek texts of considerable antiquity, whereas Greg and most of his English successors were working with vernacular texts.

[25] In more than one circumstance Allen declared that he was not a textual critic, or bibliographer; yet as librarian and teacher, as well as editor of Erasmus, he dealt with these matters daily, as I shall detail elsewhere.

[26] In Hilary Term 1894 at Oxford—at the time Allen was thinking out his project and planning his method and procedures—Falconer Madan offered a course on Mediaeval Palaeography, which Allen took and on which he made careful notes (see above). Madan there gave a brief guide to collation, which Allen later largely followed.

[27] I would like to have cited the instance of Ep. 1806a, an original letter, holograph through but badly damaged down its right side; it is based on a manuscript not in KB, the Hague. It is evident that Allen not only checked his transcription against the manuscript, but also checked page proofs against the manuscript at a second stage, and that he made further emendations. But unfortunately the copy of the page proofs that had been filed with the manuscript letter seems to have been misfiled. See Allen OE, VII, 24a.

[28] Thus Lloyd-Jones in History of Classical Scholarship by Wilamowitz (1982), p. 143. Ingram Bywater, Professor of Greek in the University of Oxford (1893–1908) was also most influential as a delegate to the Clarendon Press. Pattison was well informed concerning education on the Continent and on German scholarship generally: for three months he had been the Berlin correspondent of The Times in 1858 (DNB).

[29] I quote from the English translation by Alan Harris in Wilamowitz-Moellendorf, History of Classical Scholarship, p. 178, to which Lloyd-Jones added the note that Cato defined the orator as vir bonus, dicendi peritus": he might have added that Cicero always kept in view the vir bonus.

[30] See Letters of P. S. Allen, p. 298, and Bodl. MS. 229 fol. 56.

Autor (author): Richard J. Schoeck
Dokument erstellt (document created): 2002-08-16
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