Monday, March 02, 2009

de finibus bonorum

The final instalment in the story of my Trondheim adventure, is the talk I was invited to give by the radical student organisation Trondheim Klassisk studentforening, at their wonderful Klassisk aften (classical evenings or rather evening of classicists), a informal lecture series open to the public. (I’m very impressed with their organisational skills.)

The evenings are usually held at the incredibly cosy and delightful antiquarian bookshop Bybroen antikvariat. The same place regularly hosts philosophical evenings, where Arne Naess used to appear, a tough act to follow. (This post is mostly pictures, blurry pictures, my camera wasn’t cooperating, and I seem to have deleted some by accident, there is no photo left of the incredible fireplace. Better ones here.)

As always when I give a talk I am astounded, humbled and thrilled by the fact that people actually come, and this was possibly the best audience I’ve had in my life, they were receptive, intelligent and they thought I was funny, or at least polite enough to laugh at my jokes. My talk wasn’t all that impressive, I tried to describe what as happened with classical languages in Sweden (and to some extent Norway) the last few years, what impact “activism” might have on these recent developments, what such activism entails, and make some dreamy suggestions for the strengthening and enhancement of the position and study of classical languages. (I did have some notes, but promptly lost half of them.)

The best part of the evening was the gathering afterwards, with a spontaneous and delicious dinner and ample drink. The students presented me with an excellent bottle of red wine, which I naturally opened immediately, and to be able to share a glass and discuss the serious matter of the future of the humanities with these marvellous people it truly something I will always treasure. (A special shout out to the young lady with the great American accent and to all the philosophers.) We were joined later in the evening by the two of the hosts of the conference, who later on were nice enough to walk me back to the hotel, as it was once again an icy and spirit-laden night, and I got almost three hours of sleep before flying back to Rome.

I can never give enough thanks to Trondheim Klassisk studentforening, Bybroen antikvariat, the stupendous audience, Andrew for moral support and for listening to the pee-in-cup story, for all questions, and to the man behind it all, Magnus Eriksson, you are a wonder.

No comments: