Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mars laudetur!

Let Mars be praised!

Campus Mawrtius
does not post often. That is unfortunate. Today's subject of inquiry is close to my heart--How to be a Classical Philologist. D reads Laurand's Manuel des études grecques et latines, and offers up much simple wisdom. My favorite
  1. The Reading of ancient texts.
    • This is too often neglected. People read about but never read Plato, for example.
    • How to read (different but indispensable approaches):
      • In-depth, slow reading (lente, pace Nietzsche)
        • understanding all of the questions
        • produces much fruit
        • one can never read all of Plato in this way, or can read Herodotus but misses the big picture
      • Very rapid reading
        • understanding the big picture, outside connections
        • ensures that you never become too narrow-minded
    • You need calm, privacy, tranquility if you are to be moved by reading the great works.
Certainly check out the whole thing. He also quotes the eminently quotable A.E. Housman on the subject. From his The Application of Thought to Textual Criticism, D emphasizes:
Most men are rather stupid, and most of those who are not stupid are, consequently, rather vain; and it is hardly possible to step aside from the pursuit of truth without falling a victim either to your stupidity or else to your vanity. Stupidity will then attach you to received opinions, and you will stick in the mud; or vanity will set you hunting for novelty, and you will find mare's-nests.
That there are too few classicists like Housman, and too few blogs like Campus Mawrtius, is sad indeed.

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