The other day I found a little book, Helen Waddell’s A Book of Medieval Latin for Schools (1931, that I had set aside. I opened it up today and read passages I had underlined. Looking at them, I got mad at myself for not entering all these wonderful quotes I have lined up into my blog. So I am starting with this one.
Dame Dorothy Brock wrote this in the Introduction (see about Brock here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Brock ):
“There are too many who are set to translate Virgil before they can read Latin with any fluency, to whom he will always be a “set book” and not a poet. But here is Latin simple and straightforward in the main, varied and real – a book of prose and verse selections which may be read because they are readable and enjoyed because they are unexamined….
Here I would only suggest that the teacher can use discretion in this matter, and that a pupil does not in fact remember a word because he has seen it many times, but because it is associated in his mind with something interesting. I have come to believe that the inaccurate are often the bored….
I have read Homer with Greek beginners without the disastrous results which are supposed to attend those who stray too early form the Attic path; and I have read it because it is good to read and we all enjoyed it. So I believe we shall enjoy this little book; and to that end I would urge teachers to read it quickly, giving plenty of help where help is needed, and not using the reading of it as a means to the teaching of Latin grammar, but rather using such grammar as their pupils already know as a means to reading with rapidity and enjoyment.”
A very different attitude from what we expect from the head mistress of an exclusive British “public school”.
Here the word “unexamined” could mean either that the student is not tested over the material or that the readings are not parsed.