Before I embark on my laudation (from "laudo,-are,-avi,-atum" - the principal parts of the verb "to praise") for Harry Mount's book, I must confess to a vested interest; as a Latin teacher at a London prep school I spend a good deal of my time justifying my subject. My pupils, once introduced to the joys of Latin, eventually submit to its charms.
But for every lover of the classics there is a crowd of dreary Philistines crying "What's the point of Latin?" - or, drearier still - "Latin is a dead language". So to those of you who hated Latin, those who have never read a word of it, and those who wish to brush up on your grammar, I urge you all to read "Amo, Amas, Amat... and all that".
Harry Mount's witty and unstuffy tour of the Latin language and its history is a charming and refreshing guide for Latin lovers old and new. He touches on every aspect of the influence of Latin - from David Beckhams' tattoos to Botanists' Latin, via architecture, poetry and more than a smattering of schoolboy humour. The book was a somewhat surprising best-seller last year. Perhaps there is hope for the Philistines after all. Georgia Coke
Those endless afternoons where you struggled to remember the third person singular present indicative of volo (vult) may be a long time ago. But, if you have the vaguest memory of the ablative absolute, the locative and the gerund, your mastery of Latin will spring back to life with this refreshing and improving primer. In his trip through the world’s most influential language, Harry Mount uncorks its magic, using Latin lovers from Kingsley Amis to John Cleese, from Evelyn Waugh to Donna Tartt. Read this book and you will know Latin. Know Latin and – mirabile dictu – you will know Wilfred Owen’s misery, Catullus’s aching heart and the comedy of a thousand bachelor schoolmasters.
'As I never tire of saying, the only way forwards is backwards. Learn Latin, live longer!' Boris Johnson
“The latest challenger to the crown claimed by Eats, Shoots & Leaves.” The Times
“The perfect present for every family member, from the most reluctant schoolboy to your oldest uncle in search of new and timeless anecdotes to tell after lunch.” The Field
“If you studied Latin at school this will bring back fond memories, but even newcomers will be captivated by this witty and entertaining book.” Yorkshire Evening Post
Publication date: 02/11/2006
Publisher: Short Books Ltd
Format: Hardback (slipcased)
|Publication date:||2nd November 2006|
|Publisher:||Short Books Ltd|
|Genres:||The Real World,|
Harry Mount read Classics at Oxford and was a Latin tutor before becoming a journalist. He has been a leader-writer and New York correspondent at the Daily Telegraph. His memoir of his time as a libel barrister, My Brief Career, is published by Short Books.More About Harry Mount