'Sed Serviendum Officio'
William Calder III, Bernhard Huss[] (edd.), 'Sed serviendum officio . . . '. The Correspondence between Ulrich von Wilamowitz- Moellendorff and Eduard Norden 1892-1931. Hildesheim: Weidmannsche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1997. Pp. xxii + 287. ISBN 3-615-00188-4. DM88.00.
William Calder III, Bernhard Huss[] (edd.), 'The Wilamowitz in me'. 100 letters between Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorf and Paul Friedländer (1904-1931), with translations of selected letters by Caroline Buckler. Los Angeles: Charles E. Young Research Library, Department of Special Collections, Occasional Papers 9, 1999. Pp. xxv + 227. ISSN 1041- 1143. No price supplied.
Foreign Languages Programme, University of Natal, Durban.
In July 1996 the U.S. scholar William M. Calder III was honoured by the German authorities for his many impressive works on European and American Wissenschaftsgeschichte with the prestigious and lucrative Alexander von Humboldt prize. The two books to be discussed here are a direct result of this distinction; Calder used the money for their speedy production. If ever any prize money was spent well, this was.
However, Wissenschaftsgeschichte/Wissenschaftlergeschichte is still under dispute. While Albert Henrichs, the well known present Professor of Greek at Harvard, is all in favour of it,[] the former Regius Professor of Greek at Oxford, Hugh Lloyd-Jones,[] detests it thoroughly.[] Will the two volumes under review here help us to form a clear opinion on this controversy? In this matter, I confess that I adhere to the point of view that was recently expressed to me as follows: 'It seems to me that no- one can make a useful contribution without an adequate sense of the history of our discipline both in itself and in relation to others. And then there is the simple fascination of the figures: there has never been anyone like Wilamowitz!'[]
It is indeed the towering figure of Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff (1848-1931) which Calder has researched for three decades. He has unearthed many important documents and letters and has made them available in handy modern editions. In fact Wilamowitz the Man as well as Wilamowitz the Forscher has become a much more distinct figure through Calder's untiring efforts; and since Wilamowitz is such a central figure in Classical scholarship in so many respects, Calder's research also throws light on numerous other scholars, on many scientific problems and on academic life and administration in general.[]
It should not be forgotten that Wilamowitz was disliked by some of his contemporaries quite strongly. Both the faculties of Göttingen and Berlin resisted his appointment, and had to be coerced into accepting him by the influential Althoff, an administrator of the Prussian universities in Berlin. Calder himself goes so far as to say that Wilamowitz, without Althoff's furtherance, might have ended as a brilliant eccentric in provincial Greifswald.[] And Karl Reinhard reports that in 1905, as a freshman at the University of Bonn, he was advised that Berlin's Wilamowitz was 'brilliant, not quite reliable, and tasteless'.[] However, it also cannot be forgotten that the Junker exerted an irresistible charm on his audiences and his many visitors alike. And on posterity as well. What about his two correspondents?
Eduard Norden (1868[Emden]-1941[Zurich]), hailed by Harvard's president Conant in 1936 as 'the most famous Latinist of the world', was two decades younger than Wilamowitz (1848[Markowitz]- 1931[Berlin]) but his colleague in Berlin for almost three decades.[] Paul Friedländer (1882[Berlin]-1968[Los Angeles]) was three and a half decades younger than Wilamowitz and a student of his in Berlin (1900-1902; 1903-1905); he later became professor in Marburg (1920) and Halle (1932-1935). Both men had to flee from Nazi Germany; both felt strongly they were Germans and refused to escape until very late; both died in exile.
Friedländer,[] who had been imprisoned in the concentration camp at Sachsenhausen for some time after the cruel pogroms of the infamous Reichskristallnacht 1938, was later (aged 58) appointed assistant(!)-professor at UCLA in 1940, full professor in 1945 (aged 63); he retired in 1949, receiving as a monthly pension the sum of $58. I visited him twice at the end of 1964 in his home at Camden Avenue in Los Angeles. He presented me with a copy of his Epigrammata of 1948, a work which he would have liked to see continued. Friedländer, 'a stranger in a strange land', felt lonely and unhappy. On his writing desk there were two photographs: the German poet Stefan George (1868-1933) and the German professor Wilamowitz-Moellendorff -- a startling sight, particularly against the backdrop of Hollywood.
Wilamowitz and Norden were good colleagues and friends who admired each other for their outstanding scholarly work. Although they were not such intimate buddies as Calder assumes,[] they had, according to this correspondence, only one single quarrel in all these long years.[] Unfortunately, almost all of Norden's letters are lost: the collection contains 293 pieces by Wilamowitz, but only twelve by Norden. His persona still comes through clearly enough: his health is unstable,[] his sense of duty similar to that of his great colleague, similar also was his dedication to the Fatherland. So we see here Norden mostly through the eyes of Wilamowitz. Norden's own letters, although few in number, still give a vivid portrait of how he sees Wilamowitz in many respects and how he admires his work and his genius.
Friedländer is much more critical. Central to this problem is his long-postponed letter of no less than 23 handwritten pages, dated July 4, 1921.[] After his wartime experiences he cannot return any more to the Gelehrtenleben as he led it before and as some colleagues continue to lead it even now. He feels that he must separate himself, actually: free himself from the example of the great man; that he now must turn no more to 'work that needs doing' but to what is central. In fact he sets out to compose his Plato book as an answer to Wilamowitz's Platon. And he feels the need to free himself from 'the Wilamowitz in me'.[] The book,[] however, is dedicated, on the occasion of his eightieth birthday in 1928, 'To Wilamowitz TW| DAIMONI\W|'.
There is another human experience documented in these letters that is deeply touching to the reader. Only a few weeks after the beginning of World War I (alias 'The Great War'), Tycho, son of Ulrich Wilamowitz- Moellendorff, was killed in action. Friedländer, in the trenches like his student colleague, does not hear about this death for months and continues asking the father about the son's well-being.[] Wilamowitz himself states to Norden[] that he and also his wife had had some presentiment of the loss: 'Es kommt bloß auf die Intensität des Seelenlebens an, dann ahnt man so etwas. Wir wußten auch, daß wir einen Sohn opfern müssten, von Anfang an.' A photograph shows Tycho's cenotaph in the family estate in Markowitz as it is today.[]
The final blow, the collapse of the German Empire in 1918 and the abdication of the Kaiser, brings more personal loss: it appears now that his son has died in vain, and that the province where Wilamowitz is born will be yielded up; he feels he will hardly survive such a catastrophe.[] There is hunger in Berlin, and the two academics exchange information about places where ersatz food can be bought; Wilamowitz sends Norden a recipe for 'artificial goose-dripping' and adds: probatum est (p. 162). Looting takes place in broad daylight. Vereor ne prela per turbas ministrantium cessent: Despite of imminent strikes, Wilamowitz would like to see his Plato book printed; he receives finally three author's copies.[] For Friedländer, this book, 'written during the war, is the symbol that Germany as an intellectual nation has not ceased to exist.'[]
Moving as all human elements of these correspondences are, there is also another no less important side to these two publications: both editions offer an Index Personarum and in addition more than eight astonishing pages of an Index Locorum Antiquorum. Here lies the real core of both collections: they ' . . . elucidate on the highest level hundreds of passages in Greek and Latin texts.[] We come across 61 authors in Friedländer and 91 in Norden, writers like Philo (10 entries), Vergilius (16) and Cicero (14), but also carm. pop. 2 (Bergk); Lament. Ieremiae; various inscriptions (13) and several papyri (4), not to mention the long Plato column.
In the list of names (28 columns) there are scholars and artists, philosophers, poets and politicians galore: the Prussian Feldmarschall Paul von Hindenburg and the first German Reichpräsident Friedrich Ebert; Mommsen and Mussolini, in the alphabet next to each other; Sieur du Cange and Friedrich Althoff[]; Thomas Mann and Voltaire. Not in the index is the fact that Wilamowitz had dinner with the Kaiserin and the Crown Princess; he found both women 'sehr sympathisch' and reports their 'silence concerning war and politics'.[]
In parenthesis a tribute to the genius loci; there is also Johannes Basson, a doctoral student from South Africa, 'aus Malmesbury (Kapland)'. Friedländer asks Wilamowitz in 1914 to write on his behalf so that he, as a South African formally a British subject, may continue his studies in the enemy capital. Apparently both Wilamowitz and Norden supported Basson's application successfully. He in fact earned his PhD 1917 in Berlin and had his dissertation printed in Göttingen in the same year. Basson became later professor at Stellenbosch university.[]
Since Wilamowtz, Norden, and Friedländer were in close contact, they quite often refer to facts or persons in an abbreviated, insider style. Fortunately the reader is not left alone, but finds a wealth of information at the bottom of each page. The footnotes, 509 in 'The Wilamowitz in me', 935 in 'Sed serviendum officio', are 'philological rather than historical'.[] That means that not so much general or military history is explained as Wissenschaftsgeschichte and Prosopographica (Wissenschaftlergeschichte). Of course the numerous quotations from classical authors integrated into the text of the letters are also elucidated.[] This commentary fulfils extremely well its aim 'to make the text intelligible to an educated reader without recourse to other books'.[] I only wished there were, in addition to the Index Locorum and Index Nominum, also an Index Rerum Memorabilium; we would learn so much about social life, history of mentality, and professorial psychology.
We learn, however, a great deal about the innermost feelings of these three outstanding men; about their scientific theory and research methods; about their thoughts concerning translation, transmission, and transformation; about the situation of Classics then in general. Of course there is also much about their daily life, their teaching and examining routine, details we are not concerned with any more. But even if there is some sand, there is also gold in abundance.
[] While on the book covers and title pages this name is spelt 'Huss', it appears in the text regularly (except in 'The Wilamowitz in me' pp. xxiii and 195) as 'Huß'.
[] See his contribution 'Philologie und Wissenschaftsgeschichte: Zur Krise eines Selbstverständnisses', in Hellmut Flashar (ed.), Altertumswissenschaft in den 20er Jahren. Neue Fragen und Impulse (Stuttgart 1995) No. 15.
[] See his review article 'Interesting Times' in International Journal of the Classical Tradition 4.4 (Spring 1998) 580-613, esp. 606f. and 612.
[] More or less in the same way that he castigated Geistesgeschichte at the FIEC meeting in Philadelphia 1964.
[] R. Fowler, personal communication on 10 September 1999 per litteras electronicas vulgo 'e- mail'.
[] See especially W. Calder III & A. Kosenina (edd.), Berufungspolitik innerhalb der Altertumswissenschaft im wilhelminischen Preußen. Die Briefe Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorffs an Friedrich Althoff (1883-1908) (Frankfurt/Main 1989); see also: W. Calder III & S. Trzaskoma, Further letters of Ulrich von Wilamowitz- Moellendorff (Hildesheim 1994) with my review in BMCR 6 (1995) 17f.
[] See 'Berufungspolitik' (p. 181 n. 6) 'Vermutlich hätte Wilamowitz ohne Althoffs Förderung als ein brillanter Exzentriker im provinziellen Greifswald geendet.'
[] K. Reinhard, Vermächtnis der Antike (Göttingen 1960) 365: 'Als ich 1905 in Bonn zu studieren anfing, galt er dort als glänzend, nicht durchaus solide und geschmacklos.' [] On various aspects of Norden's life, work, and influence, see the 11 contributions and 17 photographs in B. Kytzler et al. (edd.), Eduard Norden (Stuttgart 1994) = Palingenesia IL. See also my edition of his Kleine Schriften (Berlin 1966).
[] For Friedländer, see: W. Bühler, Gnomon 41 (1969) 619-23; H.-G. Gadamer, Eikasmos 4 (1993) 179-83; W. Calder III, in W. W. Briggs (ed.), Biographical Dictionary of American Classicists (Westport & London 1994) 200-2.
[] The supposed 'intimacy' [p. xi, n.2] is based on a wrong translation. The two professors did not discuss 'anal warts', but simply 'Furunkeln' [p. 42], a malaise totally different: warts are caused by viruses, furuncles by bacteria; the former are chronic, the latter transient. The original text does not at all mention any such part of the human anatomy. In parenthesis, I refuse to believe Wilamowitz would ever discuss in a letter to his colleague his wife's 'anal warts', see p. 42: '. . . als meine Frau im Sommer-Herbst mehr als ein Dutzend gehabt hat, und Aufschneiden zeugte nur neue'. [Thanks to Prof.Dr. K.-D. Fischer, Medizinhistorisches Institut der Johannes Gutenberg- Universität Mainz, for information per litteras electronicas vulgo 'e-mail', Sept. 6, 1999.]
[] See p. 217f. Norden feels hurt because of a criticism of Wilamowitz; Wilamowitz sends his apologies and concludes 'that a collision between noble people always should bring them nearer together' ('Nun ist aber ein solcher Zusammenstoß unter vornehm denkenden Menschen am Ende dazu da, daß sie sich näher kommen, und in diesem Sinne sei er dann abgeschlossen.').
[] 'Norden sehr schwankenden Befindens': Wilamowitz an Friedländer, Dec. 20, 1921 (p. 157).
[] No. 75, p. 141-49. This is actually the third edition of this important document; it first appeared in Antike und Abendland 25 (1980) 90-102 and was reprinted in Antiqua 23 (1983) 127-39 with an addendum p. 307; it is also among the 11 selected letters translated into English, The Wilamowitz in me, pp. 195-217 (shortened here on pp. 212-17). It was meant to introduce to Wilamowitz Friedländer's first publication since 1914, Der Große Alcibiades: Ein Weg zu Platon. Erster Teil (Bonn 1921); later followed by Zweiter Teil (Bonn 1922).
[] '. . . gegen den Wilamowitz in mir . . . ' p. 142.
[] P. Friedländer, Platon, 3 vols. (Berlin 1964-1975); there is also an English translation by Hans Meyerhoff (New York 1958-1964).
[] pp. 68f., 72.
[] p. 108, Oct. 24, 1915. His unpublished book Die dramatische Technik des Sophokles was edited by Ernst Kapp only in March 1918; it has by now seen its fourth edition (Hildesheim 1996). For its genesis see William Calder III & Anton Bierl, Eikasmos 2 (1991) 261-82.
[] Summer 1999, by Prof. Dr. Marian Szarmach of Kopernikus University, Toruñ. This picture and others of Norden and Friedländer will follow this review in a separate email message and will also be available from the Scholia Reviews website: http://www.und.ac.za/und/classics/schrev/scholrev.htm l.
[] Oct. 24, 1918, to Norden, p. 168: 'Es droht . . . daß die Ostprovinzen abgetreten werden!! Meine Heimat. Ich werde das schwerlich überleben.'
[] Dec. 23 and 31, 1918. [] Nov. 26, 1918, p. 133 (English translation p. 211): 'Ihr Platobuch, während des Krieges geschrieben, ist Symbol, daß Deutschland als geistige Nation nicht aufgehört hat zu bestehen.'
[] 'Sed serviendum' p. xvii.
[] See nn. 6 and 7.
[] See 'Sed serviendum' p. 138f.
[] See the conference abstract of J.H.D. Scourfield, 'The Prussian Aristocrat and the Boer: A Chapter in the History of Culture and Scholarship', AClass 41 (1998) 136. Scourfield plans to publish an edition of Basson's letters to Wilamowitz in the near future.
[] 'Sed serviendum' p. x; 'The Wilamowitz in me' p. viii.
[] Friedländer p. 11; Friedrich von Schiller's famous 'Die Glocke' ought to be mentioned: When Friedländer writes to Wilamowitz, as a Bescheidenheitstopos, that he fears his book Herakles (Berlin 1907) = Philologische Untersuchungen 19, sent to the professor, 'will not praise his master well enough' = '. . . seinen "meister" nicht recht loben wird', he quotes Schiller (and leaves open whether the 'master' is the writer of the book or his teacher):
Von der Stirne heiß rinnen muß der Schweiß, soll das Werk den Meister loben, doch der Segen kommt von oben.
[] 'Sed serviendum' p. x.