Friday, January 15, 2010

Lesser-known Historical Grammars of Latin V

The work pictured at left is of little linguistics interest. It is a small comparative grammar for beginners. Most of the information is derivative of Meillet and Vendryes and other sources. The most notable thing about this work is the aggressively condescending tone the author takes to his fellow classicists in the introduction:

"The subject [i.e. Comparative Philology] has a great intrinsic interest for a certain type of mind—the enquiring, scientific type. Many students of classics of course have not that type of mind: perhaps that is the reason why they choose the classics rather than science as their main subject; for them the only interest of Latin and Greek lies in the literature, and grammar is anathema to them. It is not for such that this book is written."

No wonder he couldn't get a job in England! But there are some interesting facts about the author. David S. Crawford was born in Yorkshire in 1904. He attended St. Catherine's College at Cambridge and emigrated to Egypt in 1934. He became a lecture in Classics at Fouad I University in Cairo (where this book was published) and edited the Fouad I Papyri, which had been collected by O. Gradenwitz. On January 25, 1952 British troops killed 50 Egyptian police officers in Ismailia. The next day, January 26, riots erupted in Egypt which targeted British citizens and interests. Two of the twenty or so Britons killed were David S. Crawford and his wife.

See E. G. Turner 1952. Obituary of David S. Crawford. Chronique d'Egypte 27.54, 414.

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