Friday, August 10, 2007


Snart blir det roadtripp med den nya stora tjocka Edith Wharton -biografin i bagaget (den behöver, allvarligt talat, närapå en egen väska), och sålunda känns denna recension av 'Victorian Women Writers and the Classics: The Feminine of Homer' från Bryn Mawr Reviews ruskigt intressant:

"The book opens with a quotation from George Eliot's The Mill on theFloss, in which is described heroine Maggie Tulliver's enchantment atthe exotic mysteries contained in her Latin Grammar. We are therebyintroduced to one of the recurrent themes of Hurst's investigation,that for many Victorian women writers knowledge of the classicallanguages was something arcane and aspirational. As Hurst illustrates,through biographical and fictional representations, initiation intothis form of secret men's business was hard-fought and often harshlyperceived, yet it was also integral to women's literary development.
Denied the educational opportunities conventionally afforded theirbrothers, girls who chose to study the classics were at least sparedthe myopia and drudgery of the masculine lesson. And what they mighthave lacked in the classroom drilling that ensured proficiency in Greekaccents and Latin quantities, they compensated for in theirreceptiveness to the meaning and beauty of what they were endeavouringto translate. Hurst argues, 'they did not experience the kind ofalienation from classical literature described by Byron, but could"feel", "relish", and "love" poetry.'
Hurst concludes with a brief discussion of Virginia Woolf's 1925 essay'On Not Knowing Greek'. The ignorance to which Woolf refers, sheexplains, is not an unfamiliarity with grammar and accents, but rathera desirable attitude of mind, a readiness to be alive to an alien,unrecoverable beauty: 'Not knowing the Greeks is not a gendered deprivation after all, but a limitation which can only be overcome byusing the imagination.' It is a lesson, Hurst indicates, which Woolflearnt from her Victorian predecessors, Elizabeth Barrett Browning,Sara Coleridge, and George Eliot."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Jag har försökt kommentera tre gånger nu, men min dator har lite problem.
Det kanske är lite fel att be dig på din blogg, men du verkar kunna ditt latin och jag skulle vilja ha tre meningar översatta för jag ska kanske tatuera in något av de.
"Skapad för beundran/skapad att beundras"
"Diamonds are forever"
"Vad vore världen utan mig"
Tack så mycket.