A Mycenaean “Matter of Fact”: Part II, Joe Alsop’s Greek Bronze Age Archive at the University of Cincinnati
Jack L. Davis, From the Archivist's Notebook, 15-02-2015
Searching library catalogues and online archival finding aids sometimes produces unexpected consequences. As I wrote in Part I of this two-part post, Joseph Alsop’s principal archive is curated in the Library of Congress. The University of Cincinnati Archives and Rare Book Library, however, contains five boxes of manuscripts of From the Silent Earth and relevant correspondence between Alsop and the eminent scholars Emmett Bennett, Carl Blegen, Maurice Bowra, John Caskey, Sterling Dow, and Leonard Palmer. While writing From the Silent Earth: A Political Columnist Reports on the Greek Bronze Age (1964), Alsop solicited advice from these distinguished Aegean prehistorians and Classical philologists, all of whom were supportive of his efforts. Jack Caskey, for example, replied to an initial letter of inquiry: “I’m particularly interested in absorbing your political analysis. It sounds neither foolish nor pretentious to me in your brief summary.”
In Part I, I explored how it was that one of Washington’s foremost political analysts of the Cold War era (and for two decades a trustee of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens) came to write a book about the Greek Bronze Age. In Part II, I describe the contents of the archive in Cincinnati, discuss its academic significance, and consider what light it sheds on Alsop’s research methods.
Four of five boxes (#1-3 and 5) either contain drafts of Alsop’s 1962 article about Blegen in The New Yorker or From the Silent Earth. In several instances, the manuscripts are annotated in the hands of the aforementioned scholars, who served as Alsop’s unofficial advisory panel. The most valuable part of the archive consists of letters in Box 4, in which views are expressed about Aegean prehistory that Alsop’s correspondents might have been reluctant to put in print. We find in them an entrée into the world of academic politics at a time when debate over the dating of Linear B tablets found by Sir Arthur Evans at Knossos was raging.
Παρακαλούμε τα σχόλιά σας να είναι στα Ελληνικά (πάντα με ελληνικούς χαρακτήρες) ή στα Αγγλικά. Αποφύγετε τα κεφαλαία γράμματα. Ο Αιγεύς διατηρεί το δικαίωμα να διαγράφει εκτός θέματος, προσβλητικά, ανώνυμα σχόλια ή κείμενα σε greeklish.