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The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
Volume IX. From Steele and Addison to Pope and Swift.

XIII. Scholars and Antiquaries

§ 8. Phileleutherus Lipsiensis

The first of these was polemical and appeared at Utrecht in 1710, under the pseudonym Phileleutherus Lipsiensis. A certain John Le Clerc, who, with little real learning of any kind, had contrived to become a considerable figure in European literature, undertook, in an evil hour, to edit the fragments of Menander and Philemon. Of his qualifications for the enterprise, it is enough to say that he knew little of the Greek language and nothing of Greek metre. Bentley wrote out in great haste comments upon 323 of the fragments, exposing the incompetence of the editor and suggesting corrections of his own. He then sent the manuscript to Peter Burmann at Utrecht by the hands of Francis Hare, then serving as chaplain-general to Marlborough’s army. Burmann published the notes with a preface of his own. It was at once recognised as Bentley’s work and eagerly read: in three weeks, there was not a copy to be had. The unerring sagacity of the critic and the liveliness of the style make it one of the most attractive of Bentley’s books.