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ANAAEKTA ‘EAAHNIKA MEIZONA: sive COLLECTANEA GRECA MAJORA; ad usum Academica Juventutis accommodata. Cum notis Philologicis, quas partim collegit, partim scripsit ANDR. DALZELL, A.M. Pluribus in locis emendata, et Notis uberioribus aucta, curavit et edidit GEORGIUS DUNBAR, A. M. Edinb.
THE leading feature of the present times is, we think, that of improvement. Not only has the greatest progress been made in chemistry and mechanics, not to specify other arts and sciences, but a spirit of investigation has been carried into all of them, productive of the highest advantages. In none, however, has this, thirst for inquiry prevailed more, or been more successful, than in Greek literature. True, indeed, the discoveries and discussions in this science do not excite the same attention as they did some centuries ago. Other tastes, manners and pursuits have succeeded, and the admiration and respect which were formerly paid to the venerable scholar, are now transferred to the speculative philosopher, the eloquent writer, or the ingenious novelist. Nevertheless, though silent and unobserved, the work of improvement has proceeded. Manuscripts have been collated, obscure passages illustrated, the art of criticism cultivated, and the ardor and elegance of modern scholars added to the learning and experience of their predecessors. Hence, we can scarcely mention a Greek author of any VOL. XXVIII. NO. LV.
celebrity whose works have not been edited within these few years with all these advantages; and hence, too, the necessity of bringing forward our school-books to the present scale of improvement. And what method more effectual for doing this, than to collect in the manner of Mr. Dalzell, into one great repertory, all that knowledge which is dispersed among the various annotators, and conjoin it with the stock which that indefatigable scholar had treasured up? Or what persons can be supposed more capable of doing this, than those who are themselves thoroughly acquainted, as well with the deficiencies, as the manner in which these ought to be supplied?
But it is not on these grounds alone that we approve Professor D.'s new edition of Dalzell's Collectanea Majora. The original work itself is defective in several respects; but in none more than in the inadequacy of its selections, and the deficiency of its illustrations.
To propriety of selection it is particularly requisite that a compiler of such works devote his attention. Nor is it only necessary that he advert to the character of his author as a writer of talent, purity, and information. He must also carefully adjust the extent of his extract, so as to set before the student a suitable specimen of the whole, and afford him at once the opportunity of acquiring a knowledge of the idiom and structure of the language, and the peculiar style and character of the writer. Nor is it proper that he consult merely his own taste in making these extracts. Like a skilful caterer, he must provide entertainment for various appetites, and therefore the fare must consist of “πavτodañà êμBáμμara kai ẞowμara." In this respect Prof. Dalzell seems to have consulted too exclusively his own judgment. We allow, indeed, that he shewed both a correct taste and a sound judgment in his selections. For what historian pleases more than Xenophon, denominated by the ancients the Attic bee, “ του και απο γλώσσης μελιτος yλvkiwv peev avdn?" But circumstanced as he was, he should not have limited the extracts from Thucydides to 12 pages, nor those of Plato to 21, whilst to Xenophon he allotted no less than 118. This was neither appreciating justly the merits of the accurate historian, nor duly reverencing the wisdom of the divine philosopher; and it was acting injudiciously as a compiler.
Propriety of selection, however, was perhaps after all the easiest task. Desirous of affording his students the means of prosecuting their studies during the summer recess, he accompanied the extracts with notes, critical as well as explanatory. This plan, of itself excellent, he was well qualified to execute with success. His acquaintance with the language was minute and extensive, his application indefatigable, and his researches laborious. The notes accordingly contain a treasure of judicious criticism, which his industry collected from various sources. But we look in vain for