Thursday, November 17, 2016


Greek Texts for the Beginner

E.C. Marchant (1864-1960), Greek Reader, Vol. I. Selected and Adapted with English Notes from Professor von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff's Griechisches Lesebuch (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1905), p. iii:
By a lucky accident I escaped the Hecuba and Alcestis when I was beginning Greek; but a course of parasangs inspired in me a hatred of Xenophon so intense that it took me twenty years to forgive him. Whatever estimate be formed of Xenophon's merits as a writer, it is, I think, certain that he cannot stand the ordeal of being spelt out line by line and sentence by sentence. He is tolerable only when he is read quickly, as he wrote. As for Euripides, even if the words are intelligible to a young learner, what is he to make of the feeling? What's Hecuba to him? And whom should we pity the most — the heroine or the poet, or the beginner who wonders what on earth they are at and heartily hates them both?

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