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William Nickerson Bates manuscripts on Euripides and Sophocles


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

William Nickerson Bates (1867-1949) was a professor of Greek Language and Literature at the University of Pennsylvania from 1895 to 1939. He was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts and earned his BA (1890), MA (1891), and PhD (1893) at Harvard University. He wrote primarily on Attic tragedy, including two major volumes on Euripides and Sophocles. Bates is also known to have amassed a significant collection of Greek pottery and other artifacts, which were eventually donated to the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. He was known for combining his interests in drama and pottery by using vase-paintings and papyrus to attempt to reconstruct plots of fragmented plays.

In his introduction to Euripides, a student of Human Nature, Bates states that the object of the book is "to try to give the modern reader within reasonable compass a more accurate account and a truer appreciation of the dramatic genius of Euripides than is to be found elsewhere," identifying a need for a comprehensive text based directly on the Greek itself so that "the authority for every statement made can be readily traced." The book covers the life and works of Euripides, including all of his plays, both extant and lost, with respect to plot, dramatic technique, themes, and style.

Sophocles follows much the same structure and serves a similar purpose as Euripides, a student of Human Nature. The date of this manuscript is unclear, but the book itself was published in 1940, so it likely dates from around that time.

This collection might be useful to those studying Classical pedagogy from the late 1920s to the early 1940s and those who are interested in the reception of Classical works around that time.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Molly B. Hutt
Finding Aid Date
2014 October 6
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

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Front matter and chapters 1-3, 1929-1930.
Box 1 Folder 1
Chapter 4: "The Extant Plays", 1930.
Box 1 Folder 2
Chapter 4: notes and translated excerpts from plays, 1930.
Box 1 Folder 3
Chapter 5: "The Lost Plays", 1930.
Box 1 Folder 4
Back matter, 1930.
Box 1 Folder 5

Front matter and illustrations, undated.
Box 1 Folder 6
Chapters 1-3, undated.
Box 1 Folder 7
Chapter 4: "The Extant Tragedies", undated.
Box 1 Folder 8
Chapter 5: "The Lost Plays", undated.
Box 1 Folder 9
Back matter, undated.
Box 1 Folder 10

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