Saturday, April 25, 2015
A Drearily Bewildering Book
Of course there is an initial difficulty in the case of the classics, that there is very little in either Greek or Latin which really appeals to an immature taste at all; and such books as might appeal to inquisitive and inexperienced minds, such as Homer or the Anabasis of Xenophon, are made unattractive by the method of giving such short snippets, and insisting on what used to be called thorough parsing. Even Alice in Wonderland, let me say, could only prove a drearily bewildering book, if read at the rate of twenty lines a lesson, and if the principal tenses of all the verbs had to be repeated correctly.
In an email (with the subject line "No Parsing Fad") a friend writes:
The world would be a considerably better place with thorough parsing. In fact we're all going to hell in a handcart for the want of it. I remember waggishly asking my Latin teacher to parse 'farcio' when we came across it in a text and how I relished his blushes. The 70s could still be a buttoned-up time, for Latin teachers at any rate.The blushes of the Latin teacher can be explained by a look at the principal parts of farcio.