The Devil Knows Latin: Why America Needs the Classical Tradition

The Devil Knows Latin: Why America Needs the Classical Tradition

2001-04-01 | ISBN: 1882926579, 1882926250 | EPUB | 327 Pages | 0.84 MB

Whether discussing the importance of Greek and Latin syntax to our society, examining current trends in literary theory, education, and politics, or applying a classical perspective to contemporary films, Christian Kopff is at home and on the mark.
A classicist at the University of Colorado, Kopff believes that the elimination of Latin and Greek from the standard university curriculum has severed our culture from the literature, history, philosophy and political traditions that should constitute its mental infrastructure. He therefore wants colleges to teach liberal arts students to read the classics in the original languages?Dante in Italian; Plato, Homer and Ovid in Greek and Latin; the New Testament in Greek?and insists that the elementary school curriculum should concentrate on ancient languages and mathematics. As the accompanying conservative polemics indicate, Kopff's desire is for a radical return to the past. For instance, he advocates the repeal of the Fourteenth Amendment, which he sees as merely a tool in the Supreme Court's "misguided war against religion in general and Christianity in particular." He also takes potshots at multiculturalism (calling it "culturally promiscuous"), postmodernists, liberals, modernist art (to his mind, "ethically out of touch with ordinary people's hopes and fears" and "frequently downright disgusting") and, in a moment of insensitive hyperbole, even Martin Luther King ("the true American thus stands opposed to the martyr of the inevitable future, whether Che Guevara or Martin Luther King"). Kopff's diatribes are less heavy-handed in several pieces of film criticism and in an interesting essay on Boston Transcendentalist Margaret Fuller's historic stay in Rome in 1847-1849, which led to her History of the Roman Republic. Ultimately, however, the book is for a very specific audience: those conservative enough to believe that the different social positions of men and women were assigned by nature and to view California Republican Pete Wilson as a "liberal."

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