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Tragedy, Euripides and Euripideans$
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Christopher Collard

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9781904675730

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781904675730.001.0001

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Peter Elmsley (1774–1825)

Peter Elmsley (1774–1825)

(p.233) 17 Peter Elmsley (1774–1825)
Tragedy, Euripides and Euripideans

Christopher Collard

Liverpool University Press

Elmsley’s envied brilliance and suspect genial ways seemingly prevented election to an Oxford fellowship. He took holy orders but after 1802 was able to live independently from an uncle’s large bequest. He travelled on the Continent, collating manuscripts; he was paired with the chemist Sir Humphrey Davy in the thwarted attempt of 1819 to read the Herculaneum papyri. His publications were numerous and always of high quality, including acclaimed editions of Euripides’ Heraclidae (1813) and Medea (1818), an important one of Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus (1823), and transcriptions of Sophoclean scholia (1825). He was twice disappointed (or vetoed for) Oxford Regius Chairs, Greek in 1812 and Divinity in 1822, but he gained the Camden Chair of Ancient History in 1823, not long after declining the see of Calcutta. Elmsley was one of the great British textual scholars, of any age, Oxford’s rival to the similarly gifted but self-destructive Porson of Cambridge.

Keywords:   Oxford fellowship, Sir Humphrey Davy, Euripides, Sophocles, Camden Chair of Ancient History, see of Calcutta, Oxford, Cambridge

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