Classical Morse?

Inspector Morse (TV series)
Image via Wikipedia

Here’s something I didn’t know … there’s a Classicist behind Inspector Morse … from the incipit of a feature at

Crime writer Colin Dexter has become inextricably linked with the city of Oxford, where his bestselling Inspector Morse novels are set. So it is interesting to discover that he went to university at Cambridge. More than that, he didn’t get round even to visiting Oxford until the late 1950s, when he went to meet the later-to-be-disgraced media tycoon Robert Maxwell.

Back then, Dexter was a classics teacher in Corby, Northamptonshire, while Maxwell was the boss of Pergamon Press, a specialist academic publisher. “We met up to discuss my writing a few textbooks for him, which I duly did,” says Dexter, who recently turned 80. “Even if he did turn out to be a crookster, he was always very kind to me.” […]

… and here’s an interesting bit from the middle:

“I’ve written 19 books in all and I haven’t touched a typewriter, let alone a computer key, in all that time. I wrote them all out in longhand on ruled paper using a blue Biro. Then I got them typed up by a dear old lady down the road. She was very good even if some of the pages were smeared with red nail varnish.”

I still remember marvelling at seeing a copy of Mommsen’s ‘thesis’ (can’t remember where) … handwritten and only 30 or so pages …

Enhanced by Zemanta

One thought on “Classical Morse?

  1. I’m surprised you didn’t know: Dexter’s classical background (fairly evident in the books too) has been mentioned in several of the “famous classicists” and “classicists famous for something else” threads on Classics-L and Latinteach over the years. And of course the FT piece itself is evidence of another: a quote from Dexter himself calls A. E. Housman “the greatest classical scholar of the 19th century”, but the author of the article refers to “Dexter’s great hero, the poet AE Housman”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s