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February 29, 2004

Coming Soon: Lanx Satura

For some months now I have been thinking about weblogs with comments as a delivery vehicle for literature. Some works demand to be pondered carefully and discussed with others, and some of those most worth pondering are written in smallish parts suitable for daily reading and discussion. Other works may demand to be read in bits because they are too light rather than too heavy. These would include epigrams, aphorisms, and jokes such as those collected in the Philogelos.

I haven't been posting much lately because I've been working on a series of such blogs, each of which will present a work of literature in daily or weekly slices, with the comment section open.

Which authors will be included? Watch this space. The first two or three blogs will debut tomorrow, March 1st. I was hoping to have them up 1 minute after midnight for the start of the archaic Roman year, but it looks like it will be later tomorrow, since I have a very bad cold.

In the mean time, here are hints on the identities of some of the authors to be included:

  1. Which Roman author would most appropriately debut on March 1st? That should be easy.
  2. Which (relatively) modern author would most appopriately be paired with him, as a native of the same town and great admirer of his fellow townsman?
  3. Which (relatively) modern poet wrote not one but two five-act tragedies on Nero, so irretrievably out-of-print that even xeroxes are hard to come by, but admired by Yvor Winters and the one or two other critics that have ever read them?
  4. If A. E. Housman is the classicist who has been most successful as an author of English literature, who is the mediaevalist?
Posted by Michael Hendry at 11:33 PM | Comments (0)

February 03, 2004

New Feature

I have added a new category in the left-hand column: Teaching Texts II. This page links to twelve epigrams of Martial and one of Seneca, all chosen for ease of reading by not-very-advanced students. Since I use them in high school classes, none of them is obscene, though some are rather crass. Each comes with vocabulary notes and interpretative questions, and all but the Seneca fit on half a page each. They make good supplemental readings to introduce students to actual unedited Roman literature early on in their Latin careers. One of them (Martial 12.30) can even be read after only six chapters of (e.g.) Ecce Romani.

Teaching Texts I is the same as it was before: Propertius 2.29, 72 epigrams of Martial, and Aulus Gellius' story of Androclus and the Lion, with brief notes for somewhat more advanced students. They are accessible in either HTML or PDF format, and some of the Martial is not suitable for high school students.

There is not much overlap between the two Martial collections. The 12 epigrams in Teaching Texts II were chosen almost entirely for ease of reading -- no subjunctives, gerunds, gerundives, or supines -- rather than quality, while the 72 epigrams in Teaching Texts I were chosen more for quality, though all are quite short and relatively easy.

As always, comments and suggestions are welcome, and may either be placed in the comments here or sent via e-mail.

Posted by Michael Hendry at 07:56 PM | Comments (0)