The Blackie Case

Wallace Stuart

in John Stuart Blackie

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2006 | ISBN: 9780748611850
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653386 | DOI:
The Blackie Case

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This chapter is about John Stuart Blackie's reputation as a Latinist and his appointment to the chair of Humanity. In purely scholarly terms James Melvin was the obvious choice for any new chair of Humanity. He had a wide knowledge of classical and medieval Latin literature, in which subject he was an avid book-collector, particularly of editions of Horace. Blackie later made a disparaging comment that Melvin had narrowed his views down to version-making, and as a version-maker he lived and died. Melvin was a more minute and accurate grammarian, but Blackie felt himself to be superior in respect of general scholarship, literary accomplishment, and knowledge of the world, adding that good schoolmasters did not necessarily make good professors. The letter announcing that Blackie had been nominated, presented, and appointed to the chair of Humanity was published on 1 May 1839. Only after his death in 1853 was Melvin properly seen as the most accomplished Latinist of his day, the last in a line of Scottish scholars.

Keywords: John Stuart Blackie; Latinist; chair of Humanity; James Melvin; Melvin; Scottish scholars

Chapter.  12377 words. 

Subjects: Regional and Area Studies

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