What’s the point?

How is it that the culmination of a Latin program is to read a Latin author in English? It is quite one thing to offer “X Literature in Translation”, but another to require a student to take 3 years of a fl only to find the piece de resistance at the end to be in English.

What’s the point?

“I would add to what some others have said; I would require the whole Aeneid
in English, if only so that students who are only reading some passages in
Latin get a better sense of the context of those lines in relation to one
another and to the work as a whole. It is simply not practical, if one is
not reading the entire poem, to assume that students can internalize the
organic whole of the Aeneid based solely on isolated passages. While it is
true that ideally the students would read the whole poem in Latin, that is
also not practical, especially if Vergil is going to be sharing the
spotlight with Caesar. In fact, reading the whole in English becomes more
imperative if the amount of Latin Aeneid required is shrinking to
accommodate Caesar.”

So we read stories in Ecce or CLC or work our way through the basic list of grammar items in Wheelock or LFA or Jenny, and then we get to our fourth year and discard all of that and prove once and for all that anything worth saying is said in English. We’ll read Vergil in English, the language it was meant to be read in.

To my way of thinking, reading only a portion of Vergil in Latin would be far superior to reading anything in English. What sort of message are we giving here?

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