The Times/1929/Obituary/Robert Drew Hicks

Obituary: Mr. R. D. Hicks. A Blind Aristotelian Scholar (1929)
480921Obituary: Mr. R. D. Hicks. A Blind Aristotelian Scholar1929


Mr. R. D. Hicks

a blind Aristotelian scholar.

Mr. R. D. Hicks, the Aristotelian scholar and Fellow of the Trinity College, Cambridge, died yesterday at his residence at Cambridge at the age of 78.

Robert Drew Hicks, the son of Mr. W. Hicks, of Bristol, went up to Trinity College from Bristol grammar school in 1870. He was elected a scholar of the college in 1872 and Fellow in 1876, having been bracketed 6th classic in 1874. and having taken a second class in the Moral Sciences Tripos in the same year. He was college lecturer in Classics from 1884 to 1900.

At the close of this period, just when, fortunately, he had earned his pension be suffered the greatest calamity that can befall a student—loss of eyesight. This, to a helluo librorum like Hicks, was an unparalleled disaster. But his courage never faltered, and in this he resembled another Fellow of Trinity, H. M. Taylor, who did some of his best work after becoming completely blind at the age of 52. With the help pf his wife and some devoted friends, Hicks kept abreast of classical learning and produced a monumental edition of Aristotle's "De Anima" in 1907, a small volume on the Stoics and Epicureans in 1910, and a brilliant summary of Greek philosophy for the "Cambridge Companion to Greek Studies." He had already given proof of his quality as humanist and Aristotelian by the volume of Cambridge compositions which he edited with Archer-Hind in 1899 (and to which he contributed eight pieces), and by an edition of Susemihl's "Politics" of Aristotle in 1894. This last is something more than a mere translation of the German. It is a revision, undertaken with the sanction and help of Susemihl himself, to which Hicks added a large amount of original matter. In 1925 appeared his text and translation of Diogenes Luertius in the Loeb Classical Library, in which he acknowledges the help of, among others, his brother-in-law, Sir Thomas Heath.

The patience and cheerfulness of the blind scholar were amazing. For the use of fellow-sufferers he produced in 1921, a concise Latin dictionary in Braille type. He was often to be met walking in the country on the arm of a companion, and he dined regularly in Hall. Manchester University conferred on him the hon. degree of D.Litt.

The funeral will be on Tuesday, the service in Trinity College Chapel being held at 2.30.

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