I've had a couple of emails out of the blue from former pupils, which was a pleasant experience. One now has two daughters, the elder of whom is taking GCSE now.
This former pupil wrote:
I am kept very busy in my roles as taxi driver for the children, farm secretary etc, etc and must admit that I have not looked at any Latin or Greek for many years!
What can be done to encourage people like this lady to keep up a little gentle reading?
With due respect to my Living Latin brethren, I think what such people would respond to is Classical literature, with the addition of some mediaeval prose and poetry.
But the chance of someone, off their own bat, getting a text of, say, De Oratore, and sitting down to plough through it is nil.
That is why I'd like to float the idea of an on-line reading club/book club for Latin literature.
There are many on-line reading groups including one called Classics Reading Group (but that means English classics), so the idea isn't new. There's even a page of hints on starting your own.
What would we read? Nothing too long, or people will get disheartened. Avoid texts that have been set for exams in recent years, even though that means rejecting some of the most immediately appealing pieces. Pieces of literature that are either worth reading for sheer quality, or that have a fascinating story to tell.
What about some Catullus, outside the much-examined Top Twenty? A scene from Terence? Is Plautus too far from what students learned as 'proper' Latin? You may know my weakness for 'Mosella'. Some of the lovely poems that Helen Waddell published in Medieval Latin Lyrics, or that Fleur Adcock translated in The Virgin and the Nightingale?
There could be an introduction to the month's book or group of poems, and space for readers' comments or questions.
What do you think? Would it keep more of our former students in the Classics loop?
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