Home  »  Volume XVIII: American LATER NATIONAL LITERATURE: PART III  »  § 21. George Martin Lane

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XVIII. Later National Literature, Part III.

XXV. Scholars

§ 21. George Martin Lane

George Martin Lane (1823–97), a pupil of Karl Beck, in 1847 resumed the Harvard tradition of study in Germany, which for a long period after the return of the Göttingen group had been almost intermitted. Working at Göttingen, Berlin, Bonn, and Heidelberg under K. F. Hermann, Welcker, Heyse, Ernst Curtius, and others, Lane received his degree at Göttingen in 1851 for a dissertation which has remained an authority upon the history of the city of Smyrna. In the same year he succeeded Beck as professor of Latin, and served until 1894, promoting the work of the graduate school of research, and offering courses more and more advanced. The soundness and the brilliancy of his teaching are still proverbial, and his publications, though few, are influential. Latin Pronunciation (1871) is said to have “worked a revolution in exterminating the English pronunciation of Latin in this country—a revolution which even the weight and learning of a Munro could never even begin in England.” Lane assisted Charlton T. Lewis in producing the large Harper’s Latin Dictionary (Lewis and Short), but contributed more vitally to the smaller or School Lexicon, “by far the more original and trustworthy book.” Chief of his works is the Latin Grammar, for which he had been collecting material since 1869, but which was just approaching completion when he died. Lane wore his learning lightly and was remarkable for his wit. At the Newport Town and Country Club, presided over by Julia Ward Howe, he presented in Latin a burlesque Harvard Commencement programme; upon an adventure of his own he composed the far-famed ballad of “The Lone Fish Ball.”