Wednesday, March 04, 2015

I've got to read this book!

I was just informed of a review of Philology: The Forgotten Origins of the Modern Humanities (thanks, Classics-L list!). If the book is half as delightful as the review...

Here's a few snippets from the review that are priceless:

As for philological single-mindedness, when a celebrated German Assyriologist of my acquaintance (who shall remain nameless) got married, he rose abruptly from the wedding banquet to announce “Jetzt zur Arbeit!” (“Now to work!”) and headed for the door, a volume of cuneiform texts tucked under one arm; only the outraged intervention of his new mother-in-law kept him from leaving. Such anecdotes about philologists—their pugnacity, their obsessiveness, their downright daffiness—could fill a thick volume. Such anecdotes taught me not only that I wasn’t learned enough to become a philologist, I wasn’t unhinged enough either.
I wouldn't be surprised if I knew the guy...well, it could easily describe more than a few people—at times maybe even me : )

Or how about this one:

In several of his most intriguing asides, Turner discusses Thomas Jefferson’s abiding fascination with American Indian languages. On one occasion, in June of 1791, Jefferson and James Madison “squatted in a tiny Unquachog village on Long Island” to compile a wordlist of the now-extinct Quiripi language from the three old women who still spoke it. Jefferson sought to discover the origins of American Indians; he wondered whether they were ultimately of Asian origin or, less plausibly, whether they had originated in Wales, his own ancestral homeland. In any case, the image of two future American presidents hunkering down in a freezing wigwam on Long Island, driven purely by intellectual curiosity, seems to come from some alternative universe now forever lost to us.
Can you imagine any of today's political hopefuls doing that?! The thought makes me laugh...and cry.

Anyway, Interlibrary Loan...


That's my 2 cents! said...


I used to be most envious of NT and ST temperament types. I actually gave God enormous grief for making with a milquetoast NF temperament type. Now I know you're all simply nuts. NF's are perhaps even more nuts, but at least we do it with empathy and love. :-D

I'm glad you are the way you are, and one day I'm certain I'll be ok with the way I am too.

Grace and peace,


jps said...


You're correct; we are nuts!

I pray you will be OK with who you are, too.