Monday, March 08, 2010

Sir Kenneth Dover Obituaries

Both The Times and The Telegraph have obituaries of the legendary Greek scholar Sir Kenneth Dover tomorrow. He died yesterday, on 7 March:

Sir Kenneth Dover: Greek scholar and Chancellor of the University of St Andrews
Sir Kenneth Dover was one of the finest and most widely respected Greek scholars of the 20th century, and held many high positions in the academic world. He became better known to a wider public in 1994 through his remarkable autobiography Marginal Comment and the reactions that it aroused. And to generations of students, especially at St Andrews, he was always a hero . . .

Sir Kenneth Dover
Sir Kenneth Dover, who died on March 7 aged 89, was considered the finest Greek scholar of his generation and seemed to have led a life of almost oppressive decorum, crowned in 1978 by his election as President of the British Academy.

But in 1994 he published an autobiography, Marginal Comment, which deliberately shattered the image. The book portrayed a spikily intelligent man who was slave to an urge to demonstrate his emancipation from bourgeois constraints. The reader is not spared the least detail of Dover's sex life, right down to the culminating horror that at 64 he and his wife enjoyed "some of the best ----- of our life".

But the issue which caught the headlines was his account of his attitude to Trevor Aston, a History fellow at Corpus Christi, Oxford, where Dover had been President between 1976 and 1986. Aston's disintegration into paranoia and alcoholism had proved a serious embarrassment to the college; Dover confessed to having thought long and hard about how to murder him . . .

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