Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Classical Education

The doings of Athenians
Non-fiction ~ opinion piece
Published in The Spectator, 6th July 1928
1,335 words
(Read 03/06/2014)

EFB bemoans not the fact that Latin and Greek are taught at all but that they are taught so badly.  Well, to be honest, hardened Græcophile that he was, he talks almost exclusively about Greek, dismissing the Romans pretty summarily in the first paragraph.  He makes a fair point, though:
The fruitless expenditure of time and anguish over the acquisition of Greek, when it might be far more profitably employed, is tragic ... .  The fault was not in [boys'] brains, nor in the subject that they studied, for any boy of the smallest imagination would be interested in the doings of the Athenians, if only he had been made to realize that this tiresome parsing and syntax were not steps towards the mere acquisition of a language but towards the knowledge of an attractive and extraordinarily modern people, and that Athenian boys* played games with just as much zest as they, and spoke Greek, as it were, by accident.
The article can be read online here.

*Girls just don't come into it, obviously.

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