No Debate Necessary

A.S.F. Gow, A.E. Housman: A Sketch

“In his lectures, Housman was naturally under the necessity of discussing all the problems raised by his author, and novelties of his own were but incidents in the whole. At the Philological Society, where the paper dealt with his own solutions of a difficulty, the qualities shown in his lectures had freer scope, and one commonly came away with the feeling that so would the recording angel on the Judgment Day would read his scroll, and so would faults be amended beyond appeal or dispute. All the relevant facts would be marshalled with such seeing ease that the erudition might almost escape notice (for Housman, though scrupulous in meeting any possible objection in advance, never piled up evidence beyond his immediate need), and the conclusion or emendation followed so surely upon them that the paper left nothing to debate.”

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