Tuesday, July 31, 2012


A Little Higher than Crochet Work and a Little Lower than Chess Playing

E.R. Dodds (1893-1979), The Nature of University Studies in the Classics, quoted in Wayne Hankey, "Re-Evaluating E. R. Dodds' Platonism," Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 103 (2007) 499-541 (at 506-507):
Composition is a means to an end; if it is treated as an end in itself, I fear it must fall into the class of elegant but useless accomplishments that once filled the too abundant leisure of the unemployed rich—its place on the scale of human values is perhaps—shall we say a little higher than crochet work and a little lower than chess playing? "A good composer" and "a good scholar" are not convertible terms. I have encountered brilliant composers who knew almost nothing of ancient civilisation or ancient thought, and did not care to understand the literature they could mimic so skilfully.
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