Saturday, April 23, 2016


No Weak-Kneed Compromises to Modernity

Daniel M. Hooley, review of Richard Jenkyns, Virgil's Experience. Nature and History: Times, Names, and Places (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), in Bryn Mawr Classical Review 1999.10.16 (ellipsis in original):
There is something simply odd about a book published in 1998 whose prose, especially in its early chapters, is largely indistinguishable from that of a book published in 1930; formal and traditional in manner, it offers no weak-kneed compromises to modernity: pronouns, for instance, are uniformly masculine; "man" and "a man" stand in, in various expressions, for all of us. A man will see no concessions to gender neutrality in this book's King's English. There is, further, something almost peculiar in a discourse so hermetically English in its references and character as this one is. English landscapes, writers, and characters, even English archaisms, a bit precious, litter the pages. The culture, when comparanda are sought, is high and European: Mozart, Brahms, Milton, Keats, Wagner, Mahler, Austen, Van Eyck, Goethe....
Those aspects of Jenkyns' book which Hooley finds troubling are recommendations to me.

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