News | Published:

Sir Denison Ross, C.I.E

    Naturevolume 140page185 (1937) | Download Citation



    THE retirement of Sir E. Denison Ross from the office of director of the School of Oriental Studies in the University of London, which he has held since the establishment of the School in 1916, has evoked numerous tributes of appreciation of his work as scholar and administrator, as well as of personal regard, which culminated at the dinner at which he was entertained as guest of honour on July 26. The fact that seven thousand students have passed through the School in the twenty-one years of its existence is sufficiently impressive, when it is remembered that before it came into being there were virtually no facilities for oriental studies in London ; but these figures give only a very imperfect idea of the importance of the School as an Imperial asset. By adding Africa and its languages to the Orient in the stricter sense of the term, the School not only covers a broader field of scholarship than any other single institution of its kind, but it has also become a much valued, and indeed an essential agency in the training of officials, missionaries and others, whose life-work is, or will be, among the less advanced races of the Empire. This breadth of outlook and sense of public responsibility in the orientation of academic studies is largely due to the qualities and experience which Sir Denison Ross brought to the task of organizing and developing the work of the School. After a grounding in the study of oriental languages at Paris and Strasbourg, he travelled extensively in the Near, Middle and Far East, and acquired a knowledge of Asiatic languages and cultures no less extensive. This may be seen in his published works, which range from critical works of scholarship to appreciations of art and literature. Perhaps not the least scientifically interesting is a polyglot list of birds in Turki, Manchu and Chinese. No less important, however, than his gift of tongues was his educational and administrative experience during his thirteen years in Calcutta, which had proved and strengthened his ability to arouse enthusiasm for Oriental scholarship in others.

    About this article

    Publication history

    Issue Date



    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

    Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing