William Harris

The essays of the late William Harris, professor of classics at Middlebury College, are archived on the college website under the title of Humanities and Liberal Arts. Of interest to Latin and Greek students: The Intelligent Person’s Guide to Greek and The Prolegomena to Latin. The index to Greek Language and Literature includes a good deal on Homer as well as commentaries on Sappho and Heraclitus.


Of Hobbes and Hobbits

David Warren discusses medieval kingship and protecting the hobbits. ISIS has burned the public library in Mosul. Eve Tushnet reviews Marilynne Robinson’s return to Gilead. At First Things, Andrew Ladd recounts his women’s studies seminar with Elizabeth Fox-Genovese: her story is also worth a read.

Resources for Latin and Greek

Randy Gibbons provides a good overview of the books and methods available for self-teaching. Among the books now online are the 1887 edition of the Orbis Pictus of Comenius and Kendrick’s 1851 Greek Ollendorff.

Evan der Millner offers courses in Comenius and Adler, among other projects. See also his index of lessons on YouTube.

John Piazza has pages on the teaching of Latin and Greek with many useful links.

W.H.D. Rouse was a pioneer of the Direct Method at the Perse School in England. Recordings here with a commendable effort at rendering the pitch accent. Rouse’s Greek Boy at Home, also available in a Focus reprint, seems to be catching on among speakers of Spanish here and here.

John Stuart Blackie seems to have spearheaded a revival of spoken Greek in Scotland: his Primer (1891) and Dialogues (1871) are glimpses into a vanished and contrafactual world where topics from ice-skating to Highland dress are open to discussion.

Mogyoróssy Arkád, alias Arcadius Avellanus, is rumored to have learned Latin before his native Hungarian. His textbook Palaestra was published serially from Williamstown, Brooklyn, and New York City between 1912 and 1919. He also translated Treasure Island into Latin as Insula Thesauraria. He has very strongly held and hostile opinions about German scholarship, but Palaestra has the feel of being written by a native speaker, with many insights into colloquial and practical use.


Wonder and Weirdness

Rod Dreher talks about making Christianity weird again. It always has been, but sometimes we forget to pay attention. Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry makes some interesting points about Mary and modernity. Joseph Pearce invokes Chesterton on trees and tradition, talking about Tolkien.

Meanwhile, Mike Chasar has some things to say about orality and literacy and poetry, and Maria Popova is quite taken with Mary Oliver. It’s hard not to like Mary Oliver, but like many contemporary poets, she skims along the surface of words and meaning. Beautiful platitudes are no less beautiful or true for being platitudes, but they don’t wrestle with language and reality the way Hopkins does, nor are they quite so subversively simple as Robert Frost can be. Nothing against Mary Oliver; but we should reserve our highest praise for the best and bravest words.

As in poetry, so in religion: the best and the bravest are the ones who stand against modernity and relativism; the ones that are rooted and living and strange. Further up and further in.


Winter Weekend



Yellow Leaves or None

Oliver Byrne’s Elements of Euclid is what other math textbooks dream of being when they grow up. Mental Floss links to a particularly well-drawn linguistic family tree by Minna Sundberg. At Dappled Things, Michael Renner talks about The Little Prince and Good Books.


I do like seagulls

Abby McBride knows seagulls, and many other things. Kathleen Rooney has some things to say about sharks. So does Herman Melville. Philip Kennicott tells you everything you need to know about viewing art, and also life.


Where springs not fail

Renzo Piano builds a convent, and Jonathan Glancey approves. Julien Meyrat talks about Zen, modernism, and church architecture. Jennifer Schuessler has news for you about Henry David Thoreau. Stephen Thompson wants you to give up music for a day and question your inner voice.


The Seeing of the Eye

Michael Gorra reviews Michel Pastoreau’s history of green, while Sarah Yager has no problem seeing red as evil. Robin Lane Fox talks about gardens. Matthew J. Milliner talks about bridges to wonder. David Park talks about light.


Humans of Tanglewood

The latest over at Dappled Things. One of Beethoven’s composer friends apparently once showed him a manuscript at the end of which he had written, “Finished with the help of God.” Beethoven wrote under it, “Man, help yourself!”