>>7661369 You are much, much more likely to succeed with self teaching. Latin classes are awful, it's usually the professor using some shitty text he wrote himself that is less about teaching you and more about showing off that he can write like the classical authors, which he can't.
Download Anki, make sentence cards out of REAL LATIN FROM CLASSICAL AUTHORS, and you're golden. If you don't know what Anki is, congratulations, I just introduced you to the tool that will change your academic life.
>>7661518 It is tough but once you get it down it becomes considerably easier to read. Wheelock and the other entry books are essential to learning the language. The actual texts from roman authors is a whirlwind of accent and style which strays far away from beginner's latin.
Tldr: learn it. Latin is a beautiful and helpful language. But dont sweat the big stuff.
"Of course, that’s not what I told myself. At least, not exactly. I told myself that I ‘NEEDED’ Greek and Latin to really understand poetry (my true aim), and therefore write it better than anyone before me, for I’d know the true origin of language, in the metaphysical sense, by being able to strip it down to its more primitive manifestations in a way that academics could not. So, I’d spend much time practicing conversation every day, dipping every once in a while into Virgil and Catullus, just to see where I was at, technically speaking, but not realizing that, as a budding poet, I was in fact wasting time – and that everything I needed, everything that’s worthy of the term ‘art’, had already been provided by modernity, if only I’d learn to look a little more wisely.
It was under this spell that I’d written my review, and, despite a number of comments disagreeing with my assessment, it is still a correct assessment, and will continue to be correct for as long as we’re recognizably human. This is because claims that one can truly ‘read’ Latin through a text like Wheelock’s, followed by more supplemental reading, then ever more advanced vocabulary, are ridiculous, since NO language is ever acquired in this way. Sure, you can learn words, understand passages in a mechanical sense, but when one hears phrases such as ‘communication’, one thinks of nuance, too – and poetry IS nuance, at least on a word-by-word basis. So, for those still interested in Latin, my recommendation is the same: get yer ass speaking and writing, first, before you delude yourself into thinking that a mere 4 years in college, followed by a Master’s, then by a Ph.D., will get you fluent. Do, then, what I ultimately could NOT do for lack of interest, drive, and talent for the field: get conversational, and leave the academy in mumbles. As for writing well, in English? Forget it. Latin is for Latin, and art lives (and basks) in separation. You either have talent or you don’t. This applies to Latin. Yet it applies even more so to art, as it’s the lone human endeavor that people can literally waste entire lives on, to no personal benefit whatsoever, and much harm to the general good.
But wait. What of Virgil? Propertius? Those great passages in Homer? Greek and Latin at their apex? Isn’t that the crowning achievement of our good earth? Well, if you think that an over-reliance on cliches, stock myths, and clunky, simple-minded beliefs from 2,000+ years ago is the apex of human achievement, then perhaps it is. Those attuned to the real world, however, will see how Wallace Stevens has outdone even Shakespeare, or the ancient Chinese poets outpaced anything the Greeks and Romans could ever throw at ’em"
>>7662376 "The modern world, as I see it, came in waves. The first, of course, was in China, wherein poets like Tu Fu and Li Po anticipated the West by about 1000 years (or more), and books like the Tao Te Ching are still so mired in our future, now, that people have not been able to fully grasp its import. For when information, or hard data, is finally mastered, and the more immediate concerns resolved (poverty, violence, etc.), there will be no more place to go but inward – truly, the ‘final frontier’, for while outer space is uniform, predictable, and rote, art isn’t, for it’s deeper, and far more nuanced communication is now at a geometric ascent because of such.
As for Latin, and its effect on the above theory? Well, there is one thing, thrown out as a kind of monkey-wrench, by Catullus. And it captivates the reader PRECISELY because it shows a man on the cusp of ‘something’ – a flash or realization, a thread that, sadly, he could not follow, a sense of parallax that was simply far beyond him, and the West, as a whole, for another 1500 years. It is this, and it is something no other Western poet would do until they had time to grow up:
He seems to me to be equal to a god, he, if I dare it, seems to surpass the gods, who now, face to face, uninterrupted, watches and hears you
sweetly laughing, which sunders me from my senses: for when I look at you, Lesbia, no voice is in my mouth, my tongue is rigid, and through my body a thin flame pours down, my ears ringing with their own sound, my gaze curtained by a double night.
Leisure, Catullus, is dangerous; leisure urges you to extravagant behavior; leisure in time gone by has ruined kings and prosperous cities.
A few predictable things, naturally: Catullus’s sillier infatuations, as per the thrust of his earlier and later poems, a few near-cliches that appear even in the original Latin, and the like. And then – wait, just WHERE did that final stanza come from? From Sappho, whose fragment was rehabilitated into a good poem, here, or from Catullus, himself?
Neither, I’d argue; for it came of Catullus, yes, but only by way of accident. Something ‘clicked’ in him, something that Catullus couldn’t understand, and made its way out, but only in THIS poem. It was a fluke, but what was ‘it’, exactly? Look at the poem again. Then, re-read that last stanza. It is quite Rilkean, a la Archaic Torso Of Apollo, wherein a final line literally comes out of nowhere, but utterly forges the poem into a whole, provides its import, and clarifies everything that came before. Here is, then, something that starts out a little predictable, only to turn to a sweeping philosophical posit that can ring true forever, and granted Rome (or its idea) an eternity that not even its more celebrated poems could not. It is this style of connecting wildly disparate, almost paradoxical ideas that no ancient writer, to my knowledge, ever employed, in any other poem, big or small, to such effect
>Take first year Latin in the summer >My school has a fantastic classics department that they don't advertise for some dumb reason >Love Latin even though it's hard >Best fucking professor yet, super enthusiastic, super energetic >bust my ass hard >Get 90 >We did it reddit >Take second year Latin >Turns out we didn't finish all of first year Latin because it was a summer course and we were a little behind as a class >Forget a lot of what I learned because I learned it so quickly >Can't do basic second year Latin shit without devoting all my time to it >I got other classes I gotta focus on >Reluctantly drop the course because what the fuck are all these tenses, son? >tfw all my friends are in that course >tfw want to be a classics major now because I realize English at my school is terrible >tfw I fucking love my archaeology course >tfw have forgotten almost everything I learned in Latin
>>7662410 If you are a lover of poetry these days you know that it’s not a good time for your love. The greatest flowering of poetry in world history- in terms of diversity, depth, & breadth- occurred in the United States roughly between the years 1910 & 1970. During that 60 year period there were more great poems being published & more great poets writing than anywhere or anywhen else. Elizabethan England? Please- I’ll grant you Shakespeare, Milton, & above both- John Donne. Who comes next? No 1 that can reasonably be granted greatness. The assorted Dynastic periods of China? Tu Fu & Li Po I’ll grant, & perhaps Po-Chu-I, but you’re stretching the definition of an age when it spans centuries, & after those 3 you are left with ‘poets’ who wore that appellation about as neatly as a Joyce Carol Oates- most were routine scribes who wrote routine verse. Haiku? Bashō, Buson, Issa- then who? Not to mention that 3 line haikus- even at their best- simply cannot match the depth, complexity, nor music of even a sonnet. Latin American poets in the early-mid 20th Century? There are a few greats- Paz, Neruda, Huidobro come to mind- but most were just political hacks- bumper sticker writers. The French Symbolists? Mallarme & who else? The Romantics? Hmm….England- Shelley, Keats, perhaps Coleridge & Wordsworth. Forget Byron or Clare- the rest fall off a cliff. Perhaps the German Romantics? Goethe, Schiller, Novalis, Holderlin, Heine? Puh-leeze! Perhaps the Soviet Era poets of Russia? Pasternak, Mandelstam, & Tsvetaeva are greats, while Akhmadulina, & Akhmatova were pretty good. Don’t even try to make a claim for the propagandist Mayakovsky. Now, here’s a pretty good list of the major American poets who were writing & came to fame during the 1910-1970 period: Wallace Stevens, Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Robinson Jeffers, Archibald MacLeish, Marianne Moore, Hart Crane, Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, H.D., Elizabeth Bishop, William Carlos Williams, Edna St. Vincent Millay, e.e. cummings, Kenneth Rexroth, Kenneth Patchen, Edwin Rolfe, Charles Olson, Robert Hayden, John Berryman, Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Lowell, James Emanuel, W.D Snodgrass, Allen Ginsberg, Frank O’Hara, Anne Sexton, Weldon Kees, & Sylvia Plath come to mind without much effort. & some could argue this list is only ½ or ⅓ its proper length.
>>7662418 Let me posit 2 other divisions. The 1st is somewhat nebulous & entails some generalizations. I state that Shakespeare- despite claims for his universality- was a very limited thinker- at least thematically; although similar themes would often be twisted anew with metaphor & image. But compared to the aforementioned other sonneteers Shakespeare demonstrates a near tunnel vision in range of themes (let’s put aside the question of his own Shakespearean sonnet form). Even worse, he seemed to be obsessed with running said themes into the ground. In the sonnets there are only a handful of broad themes- with only occasional overlap. They are: beauty, sleep/dreams, love/friendship, despair/ parting, art/the Muse, &, of course, death. The riposte: But isn’t all Art about these things? Well, yes & no. Yes, in a broad sense, but no in the sense that Modern Poetry’s superiority to Classical or non-Modern [a term I prefer to pre-Modern because any number of poets today still write this type of poetry & it seems silly to label these contemporaries pre-anything!] poetry is its very multi-layered approach to these themes & relegating them to sub-themes at service to portraits of people, events, & moments. This is all dramatic technique centuries ahead of Shakespeare & while his best sonnets survive this his worst are telltale in their failure’s being tied to their time.
>>7662041 >>7662496 Holy fuck I just checked out Anki and this looks like it will be immensely helpful. I've been struggling to improve my vocabulary in Spanish and Polish, and this is exactly what I've been looking for.
>>7662481 1 of the main aspects of Shakespeare’s limited poetic domain is that it is due to the very nature of being a non-Modern poet. Yet he strained against those strictures as well- & in fact better- than any poet up to his time [his eclipse in a few decades by the Metaphysicals- especially Donne- is not the point since we are concerned only with what came up to Willy’s time]. And this very fact is the probable reason for Shakespeare’s reputation being so inflated. It is owed to what 1 might term the Babe Ruth Syndrome- a sort of corollary to the Founder Syndrome. That is, he fattened up his reputation by being very good at a time when there was little else to compete against. You see, in baseball, if the vast majority of pitchers & hitters are still only a step above semi-pro, & you are a phenomenal talent, it’s alot easier to hit more home runs than anyone else; & in fact be so good that you will hit more home runs in a season than most of the other teams in the league as well, burdened as they were with other mortal semi-pro level players. & compared to those poets before him- Chaucer, Spenser, Wyatt, Marlowe, & a few dozen other lesser lights- yes, 1 can see the deification having some justification. But put a Babe Ruth in uniform today & while he would still be good to very good he would not be that Colossus bestriding the sport. Let a Shakespeare try to modernize his thought & verse for the last 100 years of the art & he would still probably be a very good poet but his reputation would probably never reach the heights it has. Instead of being a veritable Everest in Kansas he might only be a Pike’s Peak in the Rockies. He would be 1 of many competing with Pound, Hart Crane, Stevens, Auden, Bishop, Moore, Whitman, etc. here’s why: the fact is that any human endeavor that starts out exhibits wildly disparate traits- great swings of ‘excellence’ & ‘terribility’. This is due to the very newness of the endeavor. Great swings are an inherent part of a new field where there are few well-versed (no pun, please!) professionals. But with time’s wend the field acquires better & better participants whose presence requires an ever greater skill level or accomplishment for an individual to stand out. Therefore greater competition, while leveling off the ability of any person or artwork from soaring too far above the rest, allows for an overall greater level of skill & output- even factoring in periodic downturns in quality & production such as the last 3 decades or so in American Poetry.
The poem is both abstract & right there. Before Donne that usage was nonexistent.
>>7662481 the most political and radical poet in England during the whole 17th Century, and his name was not Shakespeare nor Milton, but Donne, John Donne. Donne was literally centuries ahead of both Milton and Shakespeare in regards to his political and sexual views, which he subversively couched under the guise of moral lessons (for he was a man of the cloth). But nothing in Shakespeare nor Milton comes close to the radicalism of content that Donne displayed (as English language poetry lovers would have to wait centuries for Blake, then Whitman, to surpass Donne’s radicalism), yet, most importantly, Donne was a superior poet, technically, to Shakespeare (the former’s Holy Sonnets blow Shakespeare’s vaunted 154 out of the water in terms of musicality, sexual daring, technical beauty, and consistency) and Milton (if you even argue the reverse it’s no use even claiming to be a lover of poetry for poetry’s sake).
>>7661518 No. It's a highly regular language that doesn't have many exceptions to grammatical rules. English also has a lot of Latin roots, so vocab isn't that difficult. Although it's a dead language, it's an excellent jumping off point for the other Romance languages (French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Romanian). If you can learn those, you can definitely learn Latin
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