BMCR 2004.11.37

Response: Alexiou on Wright on Alexiou

Response to 2003.01.10

Response by

Debilitated by illness, I was unable to respond sooner to Mrs. Diana Wright’s review of the second edition of my book The Ritual Lament in Greek Tradition (2002). May I do so now, in the interests of those few who may perhaps have been misled by a distorted and hastily written presentation? My response will be brief, as I wish to focus only on the outstanding work that the preparation of the second revised edition by Roilos and Yatromanolakis (R. and Y.) involved. The subtlety and methodological rigour of their work can all too easily pass unnoticed by reviewers who evidently lack such qualities themselves. There is no need for me to repeat here what I wrote about R. and Y. in my Foreword to the second edition. Nor do I need to dwell on the valuable changes (corrigenda and addenda, extensive bibliographical supplement) they have introduced. Readers need only look up and scrutinise the changes incorporated without special indication in the few pages referred to by Mrs. Wright. In each case, the careful reader will note that small but vital details have been corrected, added, omitted in accordance with the latest scholarship, based on a re-examination of primary and secondary sources. R. and Y. have worked with admirable scholarly discretion, sensitivity, and erudition to produce an edition with sharper focus on crucial details, and improved accuracy and precision. It is greatly to be regretted that a reviewer should fail so signally to appreciate the significance of what is so manifest to any competent reader.

As author of the book, let me conclude by saying what a privilege and inspiration it is for me that my work of over 30 years ago has been so meticulously revised by two younger scholars of such exceptional calibre. I respond now not in my own defence, but to nip careless reviewers in the bud lest they be allowed to deter other younger scholars from engaging in productive dialogue across the generations.