Friday, February 24, 2012

Rock 'n' Roll Latin

The other day our Latin III class was reading Catullus 45, and one of the students commented on the heavy alliteration in Acme's words to Septimius. Suddenly, Marilyn Monroe's breathy, seductive "Happy Birthday, Mr. President," sung to President John F. Kennedy. I quickly found a clip of this on YouTube and showed it to the class to illustrate how I took this passage. On a whim, I posted this to the Latinteach email list. The next day, I received an email from Jessica Lahey, a teacher and author from New Hampshire. A bit of back-and-forth between us via email led to her publishing a delightful piece on one of her blogs.

There will always be connections between the Classical world and modern pop culture for the simple reason that the literature and arts of the ancient Greeks and Romans gave expression to the deepest, universal aspects of human life. It is for this reason that the study of Latin and Greek falls under the humanities. It is why the study of and engagement with these languages and their cultures is an essential part of living a rich life, one that can look with eager anticipation to the future because of its firm foundation in the past.

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