[Milton-L] RE: [Graves was Professor of PoetryMilton-L] text questions

Derek Wood dwood at stfx.ca
Thu Feb 7 14:33:21 EST 2008

When I was a graduate student, Robert Graves was Professor of Poetry. He had been at my college as a young man and dropped in to give us an informal reading and talk. He got round to early modern palaeograpy and left us with this motto: 'Remember, "f''s" for "s's" you silly suckers.'
(I remember he also told us that he read at least a page of O.E.D every day for pleasure.)
PS. Could you send me your email address -- the two I have don't work. Sorry list!
Derek N. C. Wood,
Senior Research Professor,
St. Francis Xavier University,
Canada,    B2G 2W5
e-mail: dwood at stfx.ca
phone: 902-867-2328 (w)
           902-863-5433 (h)
fax:      902-867-5400
web:     http://www.stfx.ca/people/dwood <http://www.stfx.ca/people/dwood/Welcome.html> /Welcome.html 


From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu on behalf of Carol Barton
Sent: Tue 05-Feb-08 11:13 PM
To: John Milton Discussion List
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] text questions

Derek, an even funnier example of the phenomenon to which you point is what
happens when an undergraduate attempts for the first time to read a line
like "Where the bee sucks, there suck I" with old-style long esses.

That experience (though with a phrase leff familiar) was what taught me to
be very careful about transliteration . . . and it's one I think all
students can overcome.

On the other side of that coin: with administrations everywhere (not just in
the US, but in Canada and the UK, too) pandering to their "customers," the
bar gets lower and lower and lower. The whine "I can't" becomes
justification for "nor should you have to."

Where, then, does that leave the ones who *can* and *will* rise to the
challenge--whether they warm to the text at first exposure or not? I don't
remember reading Chaucer as an undergraduate being easy for me--in fact, I
remember it being bloody hard!--and I'm sure that all of us can agree on
that score. But if our teachers hadn't insisted--had made it easy for
us--would any of us have bothered?

And where then, pray tell, would this list have gotten its constituents

Ask not for whom the bell tolls---

Best to all,

Carol Barton

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