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.
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.
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.
Terry Pratchett invites Mark Twain, G.K. Chesterton, and Neil Gaiman to dinner, theoretically, and thinks that everyone in politics should read “The Man Who Was Thursday.” G.K.C. was a celebrity back when that meant something, if Pratchett’s train story is true. Sonja West has the in-depth analysis on Thursday. Neil Gaiman also gets a mention from Alan Jacobs in “Fantasy and the Buffered Self.” Speaking of fantasy, Tolkien would probably approve of the Gospel of the Trees, and G. Ronald Murphy points us to Yggdrasil in the churches of Norway and Denmark. In other news, who knew that ministers had such a tough time on airplanes? If you’re spiritual but not religious, don’t fly with Lillian Daniel.
Peter Kalkavage discusses Dante, Mark Edmundson wonders if we should teach Plato in gym class, and Bernardo Aparicio García talks about burning your selfies. An evening at the Wadsworth Mansion afforded opportunity for conversation and reflection on the meaning of photographs, as well as contemplation of some interesting portraits. Is there a difference? When it comes to birds, Maureen Mullarkey has something to say about John James Audubon and the great blue heron. Photographs are rumored to capture the soul, but perhaps it is painting which has the power to bring deeper realities to the surface. Biology is full of ingenious alternatives to photography, the glass flowers at Harvard being one example. Abby McBride is a sketch biologist, and also films seagulls dancing.