Dr Hulls reviews 4 additions to the Wodehouse Library’s collection:
Four new books have been added to the collection on Latin language and literature. Three have an obvious function as accessible and comprehensive studies of authors regularly examined at GCSE and A-level. Victoria Pagán’s monumental Blackwell Companion to Tacitus will act as a comprehensive introduction to Rome’s greatest historian for students with chapter-length readings on the transmission of text, Tacitus’ historical method and interpretation and influence of his writing.
Laurel Fulkerson’s new book on Ovid, provocatively subtitled A Poet on the Margins, fulfils similar function, but, rather than being a weighty tome to dip into, students can probably polish the 104 lucid pages in an afternoon. Ovid is now the classical poet most widely read by school pupils, albeit most often as an unseen author; Fulkerson’s book takes us through his exile, his interaction with the regime of Augustus, the wit, style, and prolific ability of an author who can delight and madden, often at the same moment.
Anne Rogerson’s book, Virgil’s Ascanius: imagining the future in the Aeneid, is a long-awaited conversion of her PhD thesis on Aeneas’ son Ascanius in Virgil’s Aeneid. It’s a piece of research which goes against the current obsession with memory. The book is a comprehensive treatment which should interest all students of Latin at A-level. In particular, her description of Ascanius’ peculiar, often disturbing relationship to his grandmother Venus (goddesses of erotic love make for dodgy grandparents it seems) is especially brilliant.
Finally, the second edition of O’Hara’s work on etymology in Virgil perhaps seems the driest addition. Yet this reference work succinctly reveals a rich seam of literary interest in Virgil’s work, particularly the way in which Virgil is not only a poet of Latin, but of Greek and other classical languages as well. Two examples should suffice: Aeneid 1.12-13, urbs antiqua fuit Karthago, ‘Carthage was an ancient city’, plays on the Carthaginian meaning of Karthago, ‘New City’. The simile in this year’s GCSE Latin set book, Aeneid 4.300-303, which describes Dido as a Thyiad (an ecstatic worshipper of Bacchus) plays on the Greek, thuo, ‘I sacrifice’, but also thuo meaning ‘I run’. Plays on Greek language become a neat way of encoding the text with a greater density of meaning, meaning which O’Hara ably unpacks for the diligent reader.
A #luckydip in the Library!
From today in the Wodehouse Library you will find, as you walk down the steps from the door, a shelf with anonymous brown bags on it.
Already these have snagged the attention of several boys and it’s part of our #luckydip to get the @DulwichCollege community to #readmore
Here’s how it works:
Read the short extract from the book inside the bag
If you want to read more from the book itself, bring it to the Issue Desk and borrow it
And that’s it.
We can hardly keep up! Today is Roald Dahl Day and International Chocolate Day, if you please.
Here in the Wodehouse Library not a square of chocolate has passed our lips and not one of us has owned up to preferring Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to any other Roald Dahl story. Instead our favourites are:
Matilda (Mrs Bottomley, RCL)
Fantastic Mr Fox (Mrs Stein, WHL)
George’s Marvellous Medicine (Mr Fletcher, WHL).
The Junior School have a Roald Dahl Day of their own lined up on September 22nd when there’ll be dressing up and lots of fun activities to celebrate the stories so definitely something to look forward to.
It’s Read a Book Day (#readabookday on Twitter) so here is a selection of what we’re reading to help inspire you.
Game by Anders de la Motte – this is Mr Fletcher’s current book and he says:
In this gripping Swedish thriller Henrik Petterson, known as HP, an unemployed loser with a background in drugs and petty crime, is drawn into a high-risk game in which he completes seemingly innocent tasks for cash and online kudos. However, as the tasks get more extreme and begin to involve his estranged sister, HP comes to realise that he is caught in a trap controlled by dangerous forces beyond his control…
Mrs Lucy, Keeper of the Archives, is currently enjoying Little Paris Bookshop by Nina Green. She is also listening to Felix Holt the Radical by George Eliot on Audible and notes:
…somehow a long involved novel works better read aloud as the narrator uses different voices for each character it helps identifying them, rather as costumes do in the theatre. It is also about the political system in Victorian England and the great reform bill. So it feels quite current with the recent General Election and political turmoil in the country at the moment.
Mrs Cerio, also to be found in the Archives, is reading:
…Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand recently broadcast on Radio 4. Cyrano who is in the French Army is an excellent duallist, a gifted poet and a musician. However, he has an extremely large nose which prevents him from expressing his love for Roxanne. Written in 1897, it’s a very funny play and was hugely popular…in its day.
Mrs Judet is just starting The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje OA. She reports that it is written from a child’s point of view but in a grown up kind of way.
Finally for now, Mrs Stein is reading How to Stop Time by Matt Haig. A story which jumps through the ages with its main character who takes up a new life as a secondary school history teacher in present day London with an old name and a persistent headache. What does his future hold?
Et voila, our first post of the new term and it’s all about what we’re reading! Have a lovely rest of #readabookday everyone.
On a sunny day like this it’s nice to contemplate the holidays.
This blog is taking a break (well earned of course) until September when we’ll be back with our usual mix of stuff.
Have a great summer.
Wodehouse Library team
The recent hot weather* has prompted thoughts of the long summer break.
With a week to go, it is not too soon to be thinking about your #summerreading and here are some thoughts to help.
Our first suggestions come from Mr Cleary. Andrew Rawnsley is the author of both The End of the Party : the rise and fall of New Labour and Servants of the People : the inside story of New Labour. Given recent comment on the style of our current Prime Minister, it is interesting to read of Tony Blair that:
“He was the most accomplished communicator of his era, a talent not to be dismissed in the age of 24/7 media where a leader is constantly on show. At times of national drama or international crisis, he displayed a high facility for capturing public sentiment and weaving it into the political narrative.”
The End of the Party : the rise and fall of New Labour
Stepping away from politics and into the realm of magical reality we suggest Bone Gap by Laura Ruby. This is a beautiful story featuring characters one can empathize with, just the right amount of magic, some funny bits and a Dog That Sleeps in the Lane:
“…Finn turned down the lane to Petey’s house, expecting to see the Dog That Sleeps in the Lane, but it seemed that the Dog also had other business, because the lane was empty.”
Also recommended is The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry. This historical novel has appeared on a number of book prize lists and won at the Nibbies (British Book Awards) this year.
“In a Circle Line carriage, westbound, fitful lights showed The Times had nothing happy to report, and in the aisle a bag spilled damaged fruit. There was the scent of rain on raincoats, and among the passengers, sunk in his upturned collar, Dr Luke Garrett was reciting the parts of the human heart.”
The Essex Serpent
Mr Fletcher offers this:
My recommendation for a great summer read is The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. It’s the story of Theo who, aged thirteen, loses his mother in an explosion in an art gallery in New York. As he escapes from the smoke and confusion he impulsively steals a painting, The Goldfinch by Carel Fabritius. He keeps the stolen painting secret whilst growing up but gradually as he gets older the theft sees him drawn into a series of encounters with the criminal underworld. This is a lengthy novel but is gripping from the start and is great to read whilst sitting on a beach or by a pool on a long summer’s day.
Here’s the Trinity Schools Book Award shortlist for 2018 video for more ideas:
*Obvs the warm weather has not lasted but you can read come rain or shine.
The Erasmus Essay Prize 2017 reading list is now available in the Wodehouse Library.
We are happy to order on demand any of the titles from the list that are not currently available in the Wodehouse collection. Below you will find links to the web based material:
- Luke Mastin, Moral Relativism: http://www.philosophybasics.com/branch_moral_relativism.html
The Concept of Evil
- Sheri Fink, Playing God: http://www.radiolab.org/story/playing-god/
- Hank Green, Crash Course: The Problem of Evil #13: https://youtu.be/9AzNEG1GB-k
- Peter Millican, Making Sense of Free Will and Moral Responsibility: https://www.podcasts.ox.ac.uk/74-making-sense-free-will-and-moral-responsibility
- Philip Zimbardo, The Psychology of Evil: https://www.ted.com/talks/philip_zimbardo_on_the_psychology_of_evil
The Logical Problem & Responses
- Hank Green, Crash Course: Metaethics #32: https://youtu.be/FOoffXFpAlU
- George Hrab, Rethinking Doubt: the Value and Achievements of Scepticism: https://youtu.be/orSjZaeyISI
- Peter Millican, Scepticism about the External World: https://www.podcasts.ox.ac.uk/41-scepticism-about-external-world
- Peter Millican, Possible Answers to External World Scepticism: https://www.podcasts.ox.ac.uk/42-possible-answers-external-world-scepticism
The Evidential Problem & Responses
- Sam Harris, Science Can Answer Moral Questions: https://www.ted.com/talks/sam_harris_science_can_show_what_s_right
- Tim Mawson, Arguments Against the Existance of God: https://www.podcasts.ox.ac.uk/7-arguments-against-existence-god-problem-evil
Can Our Use of Language Solve the Problem of Evil?
- Dan Ariely, Our Buggy Moral Code: https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_ariely_on_our_buggy_moral_code
- A C Grayling & William Lane Craig, Belief in God Makes Sense in the Light of Tsunamis: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/belief-in-god-makes-sense-in-light-of-tsunamis-the-craig-grayling-debate
- Stephen Law, The Evil God Challenge: https://youtu.be/WiufsmxiUiU
- Marianne Talbot, What is a Good Argument? Validity and Truth: https://www.podcasts.ox.ac.uk/what-good-argument-validity-and-truth