William M. Calder III and Robert Kirstein (edd.), 'Der geniale Wildling': Ulrich von Wilamowitz- Moellendorff und Max Fraenkel: Briefwechsel 1874- 1878; 1900-1903. Nachrichten der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Goettingen I. Philologisch- Historische Klasse 5. Goettingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht Verlag, 1999. Pp. 85. ISSN 0065-5287. DM24.00.
University of Natal, Durban
While Wilamowitz still remains a towering figure in Classics and a well-known name, Max Fraenkel (1846- 1903) is seen as a more marginal figure. 'In den modernen Altertumswissenschaften ist er, wenn ueberhaupt, als Herausgeber von IG IV, den Inschriften der Argolis, bekannt' (p. 9 [=201], 'In modern classical studies he is, if at all, known as the editor of IG IV, the inscriptions of the Argolis'). His son Hermann Fraenkel, shortly before his death, handed over to Calder in California in 1976 a collection of thirty-two messages sent to his father by Wilamowitz. Furthermore, eleven letters from Max Fraenkel to Wilamowitz are preserved in the Goettingen archive. Calder has now united both collections and edited them with the help of Robert Kirstein.
The special interest of this slim volume lies in the fact that here we have a goodly group of private texts sent out by the young Wilamowitz. It is not, as later on, 'Der Herr Geheimrat' nor 'His Excellence' who speaks here, but a young promising scholar, an exuberant dynamic man who talks freely and openly to a person of his peer group. He discusses Greek grammar, newly found inscriptions, expected appointments, and recently published scholarly works. Even on his honeymoon Wilamowitz sends Fraenkel a lengthy letter (no. 39, p. 78f. [= 270f.]).
All the more enigmatic is the sudden break in 1878: there is no further correspondence until, a quarter of a century later, the four letters of 1900-1903 to Wilamowitz strictly on research matters, in a formal style not found in the earlier letters. The question cannot be sorted out here but it is certainly a thought-provoking one (see pp. 12-17 [=204-209]).
A few details require attention: the title of Fraenkel's dissertation, missing on p. 10, is to be found in a later list on p. 19; 'der arme schwitzende Thom' (p. 30) should not, it seems to me, be emended to St. Thomas, but owes his existence to Shakespeare's 'Poor Tom' (cf. King Lear Act 3, scene 4) who suffers from cold and is mentioned there in this form many a time (while Shakespeare himself is mentioned in the same letter on p. 32 and his Polonius three lines later); 'Professor Beudry' (p. 34 with n. 119 'Nicht identifiziert') is, I assume, Fraenkel's future father-in-law, Professor Ferdinand Benary (see p. 11 and Fraenkel's letter of thanks on the occasion of his wedding, no. 25, p. 51.); for 'nur' (p. 60, no. 30 line 5) read 'mir'; and, finally, a word seems to be missing on page 70f. in the transition from one page to the other.
In closing, I would like to mention two points to note from the beginning of Calder's 'Einleitung' (p. 8): the first concerns the announcement that an uncensored and expanded edition of the correspondence between Mommsen and Wilamowitz is in preparation; and the second is the interesting motto for the fascicle itself, taken from Goethe's diary (28 June 1811): Ut clavis portam, sic pandit epistula pectus.