Four Professors Attack Removing Of Honors Latin
English Department Action Called Unfortunate Mistake
Four Faculty members yesterday attacked the removal of the Latin requirement for English honors candidates.
"I can only deplore the action," J. Petersen Eider, professor of Greek and Latin and Dean of the GSAS, said last night. "A knowledge of Latin literature is necessary for a knowledge of English literature."
Eider was supported by John Finley '25, Eliot Professor of Greek Literature. "It is a mistake," he said. "I don't see how anyone could study English profitably without some knowledge of Latin."
Bartlett J. Whiting '25, Professor of English, predicted that although the change would not directly affect his Chaucer courses, "It would be better for any course in English if students took Latin. I call the move unfortunate."
The most moderate view was taken by Zeph Stewart, Associate professor of Greek and Latin. "For those interested in nineteenth and twentieth century literature, the new requirement of a modern language is just as helpful," he said, but called the change "a great pity" for periods up to the nineteenth century.
In announcing the move two days ago, Herschel Baker, Acting Chairman of the English Department, said that the change was not a lowering of standards but a "liberalization."
In place of the old Latin and Greek requirements, students may now count a full year course in French, German, or Italian if the course mark is B or above. The English department is investigating the possibility of accepting additional languages.