William Watson Goodwin - Encyclopedia




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WILLIAM WATSON GOODWIN (1831-), American classical scholar, was born in Concord, Massachusetts, on the 9th of May 1831. He graduated at Harvard in 1851, studied in Germany, was tutor in Greek at Harvard in 1856-1860, and Eliot professor of Greek there from 1860 until his resignation in 1901. He became an overseer of Harvard in 1903. In 1882-1883 he was the first director of the American School for Classical Studies at Athens. Goodwin edited the Panegyricus of Isocrates (1864) and Demosthenes On The Crown (1901);(1901); and assisted in preparing the seventh edition of Liddell and Scott's GreekEnglish Lexicon. He revised an English version by several writers of Plutarch's Morals (5 vols., 1871; 6th ed., 1889), and published the Greek text with literal English version of Aeschylus' Agamemnon (1906) for the Harvard production of that play in June 1906. As a teacher he did much to raise the tone of classical reading from that of a mechanical exercise to literary study. But his most important work was his Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb (1860), of which the seventh revised edition appeared in 1877 and another (enlarged) in 1890. This was "based in part on Madvig and Kruger," but, besides making accessible to American students the works of these continental grammarians, it presented original matter, including a "radical innovation in the classification of conditional sentences," notably the "distinction between particular and general suppositions." Goodwin's Greek Grammar (elementary edition, 1870; enlarged 1879; revised and enlarged 1892) gradually superseded in most American schools the Grammar of Hadley and Allen. Both the Moods and Tenses and the Grammar in later editions are largely dependent on the theories of Gildersleeve for additions and changes. Goodwin also wrote a few elaborate syntactical studies, to be found in Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, the twelfth volume of which was dedicated to him upon the completion of fifty years as an alumnus of Harvard and forty-one years as Eliot professor.

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