Dictionary of National Biography, 1912 supplement/Haigh, Arthur Elam

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HAIGH, ARTHUR ELAM (1855–1905), classical scholar, born at Leeds on 27 Feb. 1855, was third son, in a family of three sons and two daughters, of Joseph Haigh, chemist, by his wife Lydia, daughter of Charles James Duncan. He was educated at Leeds grammar school, where he gained nearly every school distinction. On 22 Oct. 1874 he matriculated from Corpus Christ College, Oxford, with a scholarship, and began his lifelong career of study and teaching at the university. As an undergraduate he was versatile and successful. He took a first class in classical moderations in 1875 and in literæ humaniores in 1878; he won the two Gaisford prizes for Greek verse (1876) and Greek prose (1877), the Craven scholarship (1879), and the Stanhope prize for an essay on the 'Political Theories of Dante' (1878). He made pungent and witty speeches at the Union on the liberal side, and he rowed in the Corpus eight when it was near the head of the river. On graduating B.A. in 1878 (M.A. 1881) he was elected to a fellowship at Hertford, which he held till 1886. He became classical lecturer at Corpus also in 1878, and for the next twenty-seven years was constantly engaged in teaching at that and other colleges. In 1901 he was admitted fellow of Corpus, and was appointed senior tutor the following year. He was classical moderator in 1888–9, and again in 1897–8. Haigh collaborated with T. L. Papillon in an edition of Virgil with a very careful text (1892); and he published 'The Attic Theatre' (1889) and 'The Tragic Drama of the Greeks' (1896). These works, which gave Haigh a general reputation, exhibit sound scholarship, independent judgment, the faculty of lucid exposition, and a wide range of classical and miscellaneous reading.

Haigh laid more stress than most Oxford tutors of his time on verbal accuracy and the need for close textual study. But the limitations of his method were consistent with broad and sympathetic literary interests. He studied English literature with the same fastidious diligence which he bestowed upon the classics, and was a cultivated and extremely well-informed critic of the English poets, and of some of the greater writers of Germany, France, and Italy.

Haigh took little part in university business or society, living a tranquil family life and cherishing a few intimate friendships. He died somewhat suddenly at his residence in the Parks at Oxford on 20 Dec. 1905, and was buried in Holywell churchyard.

In Aug. 1886 he married Matilda Forth, daughter of Jeremiah Giles Pilcher, J. P., D.L. She predeceased him in July 1904, leaving four children.

[Personal knowledge; Foster's Alumni Oxonienses; article by A. G. (i.e. A. D. Godley, Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford) in the Oxford Magazine, 24 Jan. 1906.]

S. J. L.