صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

THE CLASSICAL WEEKLY is published by The Classical Association of the Atlantic States, weekly, on Saturdays, from October to May inclusive, except in weeks in which there is a legal or school holiday, at Teachers College, 525 West 120th Street, New York City.

All persons within the territory of the Association who are interested in the literature, the life and the art of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, whether actually engaged in teaching the Classics or not, are eligible to membership in the Association. Application for membership may be made to the Secretary-Treasurer, Charles Knapp, Barnard College, New York. The annual dues (which cover also the subscription to THE CLASSICAL WEEKLY), are two dollars. Within the territory covered by the Association (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, District of Columbia) subscription Is possible to individuals only through membership. To institutions in this territory the subscription price is one dollar per year.

Outside the territory of the Association the subscription price of THE CLASSICAL WEEKLY is one dollar per year.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

This is a unique work because it is the only book on the market today which is sufficiently clear and simple for the beginner and also sufficiently complete and scholarly for the college student. It has been critically examined by experienced teachers and professors, who are unanimous in their praises. SPECIAL POINTS OF EXCELLENCE Its live, vigorous quality, which is due to the fact that its author views Latin as a living language. Its treatment of the formation of words under the separate parts of speech.

Its clear arrangement, uniform numbering of
sections and lack of confusing sub-divisions.
Its effective method of showing the relative
importance of the facts stated.

Write for further information
SILVER, BURDETT & COMPANY

[blocks in formation]
[graphic]

Entered as second-class matter November 18, 1907, at the Post Office, New York, N. Y., under the Act of Congress of March 1, 1879 VOL. IV NEW YORK, MAY 20, 1911

Mr. E. A. Coffin contributed recently to The Normal Review, which is published at California, Penn., an article on The Status and Justification of Latin. The arguments that he adduces in defence of its value are the familiar arguments and he claims no originality for them. But he begins his article with a comparison of the number of students in Latin in secondary schools in 1890 and in 1906 as shown by the reports of the Bureau of Education. In 1890, 100,152 pupils, or about 33% of the total enrollment in secondary schools, were studying Latin. In 1906 the number had increased to 413,595, or over 50% of the total number of pupils. He gives the following tables: Subject

Percentage 1890 Percentage 1906 33.62

50.17

1.85

11.12

Latin

[blocks in formation]

21.04

[blocks in formation]

In the table given above, the subjects whose percentages are given for 1895 or later were not reported in 1890.

These statistics have been cited more than once. Professor Kelsey some years ago tried to show in a similar fashion the vitality of Latin studies. I have always doubted the justice of the conclusions drawn from them. The period chosen was one that witnessed a great expansion in public high schools. For example, in the old city of New York there were no public high schools, but, after the amalgamation into the Greater City, the high school system which had previously been developed in Brooklyn was extended to Manhattan. This expansion in the number of high schools has had the

No. 28

effect of increasing enormously the number of high school pupils. If the numbers given above are correct, in 1890 there were about 300,000 pupils in secondary schools; in 1906 over 800,000. Now in the cities, where the bulk of this increase has taken place, the proportion of pupils that finish the high school is smaller than elsewhere, and in such places as New York and Chicago it is probably smallest of all. In order therefore actually to prove that the influence of Latin is extending, it would be necessary to show that the proportion of pupils continuing the study of Latin throughout the whole course had increased. This I doubt very much. On the other hand, I have distinct information that the proportion of students of Latin in the colleges is steadily decreasing. In one great institution of the country the number of students taking Latin in the freshman class is now only one-third as great as it was fifteen years ago. In very few colleges where freedom of election is permitted has the proportion of Latin students kept pace with the increase in total enrollment. How much of this loss in the freshman class is due to the teaching in the high schools I am unable to say, but that the high school teachers do their work with earnestness and thoroughness every one who has studied the subject knows. If, therefore, pupils in the high schools give up their Latin in the colleges at the earliest opportunity, the fault cannot be in the thoroughness with which it is taught in the schols, but must be either with the Latin itself, which none of us would admit, or with the aims and methods of teaching. In this connection the New York Medical Journal in an editorial of December 24, 1910 quotes with much approval the suggestion of Dr. E. D. M. Gray, President of the University of New Mexico, who in a pamphlet entitled Latin in the Secondary School, published at Albuquerque, December 1910, urges very strongly that Latin should be taught in the same fashion as modern languages are taught. This means, of course, the oral method and colloquial use of the language. The Medical Journal commends this pamphlet to medical men as well as to everybody interested in the problems connected with education. What of ourselves? G. L.

In the course of some pleasant remarks on physicians Pliny the Elder, commenting on how doctors

disagree, declares that it has become necessary to write on a man's tombstone that he died, not because he had any disease, but because he had too inany doctors. The pertinence of this remark will be apparent to the reader of the present paragraph. The suggestion that the cure for all the ills, real or fancied, in the classical situation is to teach Latin and Greek as modern languages are taught reminds me of the incessant lamentations of the teachers of modern languages about the ineffectiveness of their own teaching: witness in particular the crushing indictment of the teaching of modern languages in this country (which surely must involve constant use of the oral and the direct method) by Professor Grandgent, cited in part in THE CLASSICAL WEEKLY 4. 74-77, 82-85. Of statistics it has been repeatedly said that they prove anything. Some comments on statistics were made in THE CLASSICAL WEEKLY 4. 201 in remarks on the discussion of Mr. Soldan's paper at St. Louis. In tracing the real or apparent subsidence of classical studies at any given college within the last two decades or so we need to know a host of factors, such as the changes in the entrance requirements of that college and the changes in the requirements of the college for its degree or degrees. Local conditions, too, must be taken into account. My information is that in the Middle West French is fighting for existence. The sufficient reason is that the Middle West is German in population. In yet other districts, whose identity will readily occur to one, French has, for local reasons, the upper hand of German. It has been repeatedly charged, on foundations apparently as secure as lie beneath many of the despairing pronouncements concerning the Classics, that in the High Schools, for example, such desperately 'practical' subjects as mathematics would be little studied if they were not required and still fortified by that traditional backing which recently many out of ignorance or selfish interest in other subjects have been denying to the Classics. A study of the tables quoted from Mr. Coffin's article, so far as those tables relate to the sciences, might easily suggest to many that the hold of the sciences in this country is slipping! Certainly the constant emphasis laid on the bad results of the teaching of Latin in school and college-an emphasis to my mind not justified by the facts-cannot lead to a revival of support for the Classics from the unthinking or the ignorant, and must be a sore trial often to the faithful. C. K.

LATIN AND GREEK FOR STUDENTS OF FRENCH Some years ago, when I was teaching French in a city high school, a group of boys who wished to begin Greek were looking for a teacher. There being no one whose business it was to teach Greek, I gave up my one vacant period during the school

day to starting the lads along the pleasant path toward an acquaintance with the language and literature of ancient Hellas.

Nearly every one who heard of a French teacher conducting a class in Greek-I did it for three years expressed surprise at such a combination of languages. I could see no reason then for the surprise, nor do I see one now. Why not Greek and French as well as Latin or German and French? Truth compels me to state that the last-mentioned combination has always seemed to me a particularly unnatural one. The two languages in question have little in common except the fact that both are modern. On the other hand, Latin is merely highlyinflected French, or French is a less-inflected and more supple Latin. So closely are the two connected that I doubt very much whether any person without a fair knowledge of the Latin language and literature can lay claim to an intimate acquaintance with French. Some years ago I heard a professor in a French university state to a class of foreign students that secte is a derivative of the Latin verb sequor, a blunder which he could never have made had he clearly understood the laws of Latin accent and its persistence in French. The whole subject of French genders is simplified and made clear when the student understands the relation of gender in French nouns to that of the corresponding Latin substantives; the tonic accent in French finds a similar explanation; but all that the historical grammars say on these subjects has little meaning for the student who knows no Latin; he does not understand what the grammarians are talking about.

The need of Latin for the student of French seems plain to any one who gives the matter a moment's thought; to most persons, however, the need of Greek is less apparent. The Greeks and the French are supposed to have nothing in common, and the two languages are, we are told, so different.

In this connection, I am reminded of the statements of two historians, writing within about a century of each other.

One runs thus (Acts 17.21): 'Anvaîo de TáνTes καὶ οἱ ἐπιδημοῦντες ξένοι εἰς οὐδὲν ἕτερον εὐκαίρουν ἢ λέγειν τι καὶ ἀκούειν καινότερον.

The other is as follows (De Bello Gallico 4.5): Est autem hoc Gallicae consuetudinis, uti et viatores, etiam invitos, consistere cogant, et quid quisque eorum de quaque re audierit aut cognoverit quaerant, et mercatores in oppidis vulgus circumstat quibusque ex regionibus veniant quasque ibi res cognoverint pronuntiare cogat.

Does one of us ever read either of these passages without thinking of the other, and at the same time recalling the fact that those restless Galatians to whom the apostle wrote were Gallo-Greeks?

There were Greek settlements-did we not labor

iously acquire that piece of information in our high school days?-all along the coast of Italy and the Mediterranean shores of France. Greek was spoken as far north as Lyons, long after the Roman conquest, and the Greek type of features still prevails in parts of Provence, notably in the neighborhood of Arles.

This Greek colonization has left its traces, through the medium of late Latin, in the Romanic lanI well remember how, brought up from guages. childhood upon the French il y a, I greeted the Greek exe as an old acquaintance, found pleasure in the optative as a disguise for the 'conditional', and rejoiced in the Greek use of the infinitive as an imperative.

In modern times, the English are, intellectually and by virtue of their administrative capacity, the heirs of the ancient Romans. They, like the Romans, care little that a theory or system be well ordered and consistent provided it is practicable.

For the French, as for the Greeks, a logical and coherent philosophy, a governmental system put together on sound principles, is imperative. Comparison of Gothic architecture in England and France shows how the French mind demands consistency, while the English asks only practicability. One of my friends tells of a Frenchman who informed her that he preferred the mountains of Colorado to those of Switzerland, "because the former were put together in orderly ranges instead of being thrown together pell-mell. like the Swiss peaks". The statement gave me joy, it was so characteristic. The Frenchman delights in constructing and owning a logical system, whether he lives by it or not. Much of the difficulty of readjustment after the Revolution derived from this trait. The nation had destroyed its old institutions; it demanded that the new be constructed on logical, 'philosophical' principles; whether they should be practicable or not was another question.

In the olden days, all enlightened, or would-be enlightened, nations of Europe borrowed their philosophy from the Greeks, and the church historians tell us that the final break between Eastern and Western Christianity was due to the fact that the Western church busied itself about administrative reforms and practical morality, while the Eastern section spent its time and energy in speculative theology and subtle philosophical discussions. In modern days France has furnished systems of thought and governmental theories, complete and logical, for the rest of Europe. The philosophy of Des Cartes still has a stronger influence than he commonly receives credit for, while Rousseau's ideas are the common property of the world, entering into various constitutions and codes, whose authors would scarcely recognize his name, if they heard it, still less feel their indebtedness to the French

thinker. Indeed I doubt if we Americans, even yet, appreciate how much of our own most cherished thought regarding civil and religious liberty has come to us from this one man.

In the study of the seventeenth century French drama especially, one needs an acquaintance with Greek. The French critics never tire of telling us that the return to Latin literary standards in the days of Scaliger, Malherbe, and their contemporaries and successors was most wholesome for French writers, the Latin stateliness and respect for rules being needed in order to tone down the overexuberance induced by Greek influence during the century when the Renaissance invaded France.

No one can read the works of Corneille without feeling the justice of the above statements. He was, by nature and through his study of Spanish models, a romanticist, closely akin to the 'men of 1830'. For him, the restraint of the rules imposed by the Academy, according to the various versions of the Ars Poetica, was most wholesome. It is noteworthy, too, that when he does not follow a Spanish original, he chooses a Latin one; his Medea, even, is not the Medea of Euripides but more akin to her of Seneca.

With Racine, however, we enter a different field. Consider the titles of his plays. Two are Oriental, Bajazet and Mithridate; one, Britannicus, purely Roman; one, Bérénice, Jewish and Roman; five Greek, Les Frères Ennemis (The seven against Thebes), Iphigénie, Alexandre, Andromaque, and Phèdre; two on Hebrew subjects (but written in the Greek form with choruses), Esther and Athalie; and he had planned and partly written a second drama on the Iphigenia story, an Iphigénie en Tauride.

It has been customary, ever since La Bruyère set the fashion, to liken Corneille to Aeschylus and Racine to Euripides. No comparison could be more misleading. Corneille resembles no Greek author; he is by temperament a romanticist, toned down by the study of Horace and Seneca and the admonitions of the Academy. Racine, on the other hand, trained at Port Royal, was from early youth a student of Greek literature and especially of Greek drama. The simplicity and directness of the Greek models was congenial to him; he observed the unities with apparent ease and unconsciousness. Naturally, his characters have a complexity and variety of emotional range not found, as a rule, in the Greek writers; yet, when I am fortunate enough to have among my students of seventeenth century French drama a student-there is rarely more than one at a time-who knows the Greek tragedians, that student is quite certain to note in Racine certain resemblances to Sophocles. "He takes his subjects from Euripides", a young woman said the other day, "but his characters make you think of Sopho

cles, they have distinction"; again, speaking of Esther and Athalie, she said, "he handles his choruses in Sophocles's manner: they are a part of the drama; whereas in Euripides, you can skip them, or read them separately, without hurting either the choruses or the play".

A first-hand knowledge of Greek tragedy always conduces to a fuller appreciation of the work of Racine. No student conversant with the Greek drama and with Seneca makes the mistake of repeating the timeworn statement that the French dramatist took his Greek plays from the Latin adaptations of the Roman poet. Neither does he attach weight to that other oft-repeated pronouncement that Racine "dances in fetters". He knows that Racine's movement is a stately march.

The above suggestions point to some benefits to be derived by the student of French from a knowledge of Latin and Greek. On the other hand, would not the classical student profit by a real knowledge of French, not a hasty course in grammar, composition and easy reading, from which he passes to old French and Romanic philology, but a careful study of French literature, which will show him the persistence of Greek and Roman thought in the modern works, and the continuity of ancient and modern literature. After all, the literatures of the world constitute an organic whole, and he who specializes too closely in his own field is but too likely to gain of it only a distorted and partial view. The writer in THE CLASSICAL WEEKLY 4.170-172 who recognized Italian as only another form of Latin was on the right track; he only needed to go farther, and include all the other Romanic tongues, and then complete the circle by showing how the student of any or all of them needs an acquaintance with Greek in order to see the language which is his own special field in its proper relations and perspective. Grinnell, Iowa.

CAROLINE SHELDON.

THE PROFIT AND LOSS OF GREEK1 There is a difference between teaching and tutoring. The tutor has only one or two under his care and can and should fit his instruction to the needs of his students. A teacher must look to the good of many. Tutors can be electivists because they know needs and can reasonably prescribe means. Electivism, after all, is a prescribed course for one. Teachers cannot be electivists or specialists. They must choose for many, subordinate the private good to the public good, and so must look to the common interests in their work. In speaking of Greek studies we refer to teaching, not to tutoring. The teaching of Greek ought not to be archaeological or philological or mythological, because those sciences are not

[blocks in formation]

of the greatest interest to the greatest number. They are for the tutor to elect; not for the teacher to prescribe.

The teaching of Greek may avail itself of the sure conclusions of all the sciences which swarm about the classics; it ought not to subordinate itself to the acquisition of any, because that would be to force upon the many what is of interest to the few. If Greek is to be saved, it must be taught with a view to bring out its abiding and universal interest. What was it that attracted and fascinated Italy at the Renaissance after seven hundred years of almost complete forgetfulness of Greek? It was Homer principally and the poetry of Homer. If the forerunners of the revival of Greek had had to reach Homer through weary wastes of philology, through bewildering theories of authorship, through myriads of hideous myths, and the fragments of broken crockery and battered armor, then it is quite certain Greek would never have had a rebirth. Interest came before application; the love of the whole before concentration upon a part; the charm of art before the seriousness of science.

Happily there are many books which introduce readers to the wider appeal of literature. Such are the works of Professor Mackail, Professor of Poetry in the University of Oxford. His freshness of view, his restrained but sincere enthusiasm, the crystallization of characteristics into a sparkling phrase, are all admirably adapted to making Greek or Latin attractive. . . .

Says Mr. Mackail in his Lectures on Greek Poetry:

The position of Greek as a factor in culture has never been more assured than it is now. It moves beyond reach of the attacks of those who fancy themselves its opponents, and the alarmed outcries of those who profess themselves its only friends. It exercises over the whole modern world an influence astonishingly potent and persuasive. The danger now is, not of Greek being studied too little, but of its being on the one hand pursued too hastily and carelessly, and, on the other hand, distorted under the pressure of a specialization which continually becomes more exacting in its demands. It is encouraging to read this cheerful paragraph, which has been given here in an abridged form; and if our lot were cast among the learned shades of Oxford and not among the cries and feverish rushing of modern trade, it would be easier to share in this sanguine assurance of Mr. Mackail. The Mussulman and the barbarian have once before thrown Greek literature to the flames, and modern pleasure and modern greed will scarcely be more merciful. Yet if these monsters will ever be induced to spare, it will be because of writers such as Mr. Mackail, who by their illuminating enthusiasm for the author's message and ideal have made the pleasure and profit of the mind alluring to jaded sensualists and wearied money-makers.

« السابقةمتابعة »