The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion

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home > Transactions > Volume 21 - 2015 > Egerton Phillimore (1856–1937) and the Study of Welsh Historical Texts

Egerton Phillimore (1856–1937) and the Study of Welsh Historical Texts

The moral of all which is that we should take the trouble to read our texts before we either translate or comment on them, and, before writing on the ancient topography of a country, should master the rudiments of that topography.1

So spoke an exasperated Egerton Phillimore about the various mistakes of Joseph Loth in his edition of the Mabinogion. It must have been frustrating for a scholar as concerned with textual accuracy and academic integrity as Phillimore to see the works of some of his most highly esteemed contemporaries so riddled with what he memorably refers to as ‘mere flatulent dilatation of emptiness’.2 Phillimore himself was a man who seldom let his standards slip to such levels. Consequently, his work remains enormously valuable even today, and deserves to be recognized as such. The present paper is intended to highlight Phillimore’s contribution to scholarship, and to facilitate modern access to his work.


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