During the last twelvemonth we have been engaged in finally preparing for press the first volume of our text of Livy in the Bibliotheca Classica Oxoniensis, and we now desire to submit beforehand to the judgement of scholars some of the chief alterations in the current text that we have been led to adopt. It will be seen that some proportion of them consist of little more than a defence of the MS tradition; and where we have proposed changes of (...) our own, we have, we believe, rigorously confined ourselves not merely to such suggestions as can be readily reconciled with the reading of at least one good manuscript, but to such as provide in each case a tenable explanation of the origin of all the variants in all the MSS that we have consulted. In several difficult places we have become persuaded that corruption has arisen through slight and accountable dislocations of order, and in a still larger number from the incorporation of marginal or interlinear glosses not differing in character from those which still appear in great numbers in all the MSS of the 9th to the 12th centuries, but which have not forced their way into the text. A typical example will be found in our note on V. 2. 8. (shrink)
MY ‘Further Considerations on the Site of Vergil's Farm’ have drawn from Professor Rand two more long but lively articles in which he seeks again to defend Pietole and to controvert the evidence of the manuscripts of Probus. The effect of his articles on the mind of any reader who has not both time and inclination to test Professor Rand's statements by comparing them with the passages in his own and in my writings, to say nothing of others to which (...) he refers, is almost certain to be twofold. First an impression that the whole question depends on highly technical points, of manuscript criticism and of the interpretation of puzzling scholia, on which no one but an expert can hope to form a judgement. And, secondly, the feeling that if so devoted a student of Vergil as Professor Rand, declaring himself quite content with the mediaeval tradition, can accept with a perfectly light heart interpretations of what Vergil wrote about his own farm which leave the reader in the end quite in the dark as to where it was and what it was like, then the non-specialist scholar may safely leave the matter in that obscurity, only thanking Professor Rand cordially for the charming gaiety with which he has handled and appears to have dismissed a troublesome enigma. (shrink)
The Fourth Volume of Livy's text in the Oxford Series is in the Press, and it is time to fulfil a duty which for some years I have owed to the study of Livy—namely, to provide students with fuller information about the character of this important manuscript than could be included in the Praefatio to the third or fourth volume.
Since the publication of a lecture called ‘Where Was Vergil's Farm?’ in the John Rylands' Library Bulletin in 1923, and its appearance in a fuller form as Ch. II. of my Harvard Lectures on the Vergilian Age, no hostile criticism has appeared except from writers in Mantua itself , until the book of my friend Prof. E. K. Rand, In Quest of Vergil's Birthplace. This describes in a delightful way his travels in the region of Mantua and Carpenedolo, in the (...) summer of 1929, and re-examines the question in the light of his experience. It also includes several valuable photographs and a map of the Provincia di Mantova, from all of which I have been glad to learn much. The reproductions of pages from the three manuscripts and two editions of the Life by Probus are particularly welcome. (shrink)