Ingram Bywater [Obituary]

Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol.  47, (1915), p. 41.


Maxwell Adams (Ed.)

Prepared by Michael Steer

The obituary was read at the Association’s July 1915 Exeter meeting. Mr Bywater was an expert bibliophile and bequeathed about 4,000 volumes of his collection to the Bodleian Library in 1915. His collection illustrates the history of classical learning and contains the names of both great and obscure European humanists of the early 16th and 17thcenturies. Aristotle and his commentators are also represented in the vast collection. The Bodleian Library also acquired some 64 volumes of MS material, including Mr Bywater’s correspondence with eminent European scholars. (extracted from Wikipedia, where there is also a portrait of Mr Bywater). He was buried at Salcombe Regis. The obituary, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.

By the death of Mr. Bywater the Association has lost one of its most distinguished members, and the world one of the most learned and scholarly of modern Hellenists.
The son of John Ingram Bywater, a clerk in the Customs, he was born in London in 1840, and was educated at King's College and University Schools. Thence he passed to a scholarship at Queen's College, Oxford, where he was a contemporary with Walter Pater, whom he knew intimately, and having successively taken first classes in classics in Moderations and in the Final Schools, he was elected to a Fellowship at Exeter College in 1863. For many years he held a tutorship in that college, and in 1883 he was appointed University Reader in Greek and relinquished work for the college in order to devote himself exclusively to the study of Greek literature. Before this, however, he had already established a European reputation by his critical edition of the Fragments of Heræclitus. This is a small book in bulk, but it represents the result of years of study and research.
In 1886, Bywater edited Priscianus Lydus, an early Peripatetic, for the Berlin Academy, and in 1890 he published a new recension of the text of Aristotle's Ethics. In 1892 he published a tract on the Textual Criticism of Aristotle's Ethics, and in 1893, on the death of Jowett, he was appointed by Mr. Gladstone to succeed him as Regius Professor of Greek. In 1897 appeared his critical edition of the text of Aristotle's Poetics, on which he had been engaged for many years. He had made this treatise one of the leading subjects of his lectures delivered from the Regius Chair of Greek and had devoted to it all his ripest powers of criticism, exegesis and illustration. In 1909 the Clarendon Press published his final edition of his magnum opus, containing not merely his critical recension of the text, but an Introduction, Translation, and Commentary.
He also privately printed an edition of the Life of Aristotle contained in Diogenes Laertius. The weekly meetings of the Oxford Aristotelian Society in his rooms were renowned, and did much to further the study of Aristotle in Oxford.
He married the second daughter of Mr. C. J. Cornish, of Salcombe Regis, and widow of Mr. Hans W. Sotheby, who was herself a good Greek scholar. Mr. Bywater joined the Association in 1906, and died on 17 December, 1914, at the age of 74.