Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor Talks Justice, Civic Engagement at Radcliffe Day


Church Says It Did Not Authorize ‘People’s Commencement’ Protest After Harvard Graduation Walkout


‘Welcome to the Battlefield’: Maria Ressa Talks Tech, Fascism in Harvard Commencement Address


In Photos: Harvard’s 373rd Commencement Exercises


Rabbi Zarchi Confronted Maria Ressa, Walked Off Stage Over Her Harvard Commencement Speech

The Memory of Barrett Wendell

THE HISTORY OF THE TRANSLATION OF THE BLESSED MARTYRS OF CHRIST. MARCELLINUS AND PETER: The English Version by Barrett Wendell; Harvard University Press. Cambridge. 1926. $5.00.


THE title-page of this book must have presented difficulties. "English Version" of course signifies "translation"--Wendell's translation of a ninth-century narrative of Eginhard "with the constant aid of Teulet's French version." The word "Translation" in the title does not even signify the wafting of two saints from earth to heaven, but the theft of their bones from the Roman tomb in which they were interred, their stealthy removal from the Holy City, and the adventures of the pious thieves in their conveying of these relics to a church not far from the court of Charlemagne at Aix-la-Chapelle. The miracles wrought by the relics, and even by portions of them stolen from the thieves during their journey, fill out the narrative.

It is a highly picturesque and significant mediaeval document, not without its spots of beauty--as, for example, in the bit about the dream of two doves, who "uttered again and again the sighs customary to doves, as if talking together." As the final bit of Barrett Wendell's abundant writing, acomplished at Portsmouth and in the Boston Athenaeum during the last summer and autumn (1920) of his life it gains something of interest from the fact, not imparted with other items of information on the "jacket," that Wendell, dubious about the willingness of any publisher to bring it out, handed it, a month or two before his death, to his friend Mr. Bolton, librarian of the Athenaeum, bidding him do what he would with regard to its publication. The fortunate outcome of his arrangement is its issue, in a charming form, by the Harvard University Press.

One likes to think of the pleasure Wendell would have taken in turning over the beautifully designed and printed pages. One may be permitted at the same time to wonder what the scrupulous teacher of English would have said to the final sentence in the publishers' remarks on the jacket: "Typographically the book will be welcome to all who care for fine printing since the type was arranged by Bruce Rogers." Barrett Wendell may even be imagined as asking, with a twinkle in his eye, what reception is to be expected from those who cared for fine printing before the type was arranged by Bruce Rogers.

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.