November 9th, 2004

Austen on History

Let me know when you've had enough. I'm having a great time with Austen.
"That is, I can read poetry and plays, and things of that sort, and do not dislike travels. But history, real solemn history, I cannot be interested in. Can you?"

"Yes, I am fond of history."

"I wish I were too. I read it a little as a duty, but it tells me nothing that does not either vex or weary me. The quarrels of popes and kings, with wars or pestilences, in every page; the men all so good for nothing, and hardly any women at all -- it is very tiresome: and yet I often think it odd that it should be so dull, for a great deal of it must be invention. The speeches that are put into the heroes' mouths, their thoughts and designs -- the chief of all this must be invention, and invention is what delights me in other books."

--Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey, ch. 14
(actually, the discussion goes on, no less amusingly, but I don't want to quote too much. Read it, if you find these excerpts as delightful as I do!)
  • Current Music
    Wagner -- Der Fliegende Holländer [Klemperer]

My Greek Colloquium Material

Some time this year, I am to take a "Greek Colloquium" exam, required to get my B.A. in Classics. It's got an oral part wherein I am to display perfect familiarity with an alarmingly large amount of Greek text -- a hundred pages of Greek prose1 and two thousand lines of Greek verse -- and a written part wherein I am to translate an "unseen" Greek passage by a Greek author I've never studied so far.

Here are the contents I've chosen for the oral part, with Prof. Finkelberg, my advisor for this exam:

Verse
Hesiod, Theogonia [complete] 2
Euripides, Alcestis [complete]

Prose
Plato, Crito [complete]
Plato, Phaedo [major portions]
Herodotus, Histories [book VII]


1 pages are counted according to the Oxford Classical Texts editions.
2 "what, no Homer?" I hear you ask. Well, you must have guessed Homer would be my natural first choice, but since I've translated an entire book of Homer last year, and have never read any Hesiod in Greek, I decided to widen my familiarity in epic Greek, and go for Hesiod in this exam. I have the rest of my life to read Homer in Greek.
  • Current Music
    Keith Jarrett -- The Vienna Concert