Amid Boston Overdose Crisis, a Pair of Harvard Students Are Bringing Narcan to the Red Line
At First Cambridge City Council Election Forum, Candidates Clash Over Building Emissions
Harvard’s Updated Sustainability Plan Garners Optimistic Responses from Student Climate Activists
‘Sunroof’ Singer Nicky Youre Lights Up Harvard Yard at Crimson Jam
‘The Architect of the Whole Plan’: Harvard Law Graduate Ken Chesebro’s Path to Jan. 6
(Ed. Note--The Crimson does not necessarily endorse opinions expressed in printed communications. No attention will be paid to anonymous letters and only under special conditions, at the request of the writer, will names be withheld. Only letters under 400 words can be printed because of space limitations.)
To the Editor of the Crimson:
In a recent pair of editorials entitled "Classical Doldrums" the Crimson has shown that it is not bound by the old prejudice that education should be founded primarily on a study of the Classics. Instead, this newspaper is typically American in its blind attachment to the prejudices of its readers. It echoes the modern glorification of the social sciences as the only valid approach to the problems of our day--an attitude which seems ridiculous to a person who has any remote interest in the antiquity of Greece and Rome. It is a strange thing that seemingly intelligent people consider the Classics as "a dull joke" or "definitely exotic" or commit the old fallacy of expressing the term "dead languages" in a tone of contempt. To postulate as a self evident truth the fact that there is nothing of importance in the doings of man before 1900, is to exhibit a downright ignorance of the past and foolishly sublime confidence in the present. The test of and education lies in the degree to which it strengthens individual character. Certainly, experience has shown that it does not convey "immediate, practical, and marketable, qualities" as the Crimson suggests. Personality is marketable not a course in government or economics. Social phenomena have not destroyed the value of a classical education as a builder of men. People distrust the discipline of the Classics purely because they are ignorant of its possibilities.
I must commend the Crimson's observations that a "broader cultural and literary approach" is to be preferred over "musty research and dull philology." Ironically enough, however, they have chosen for their example of degenerate pedantry the very course which comes nearest to their ideal of artistic and intellectual stimulation: namely Greek 12. The brilliance of C. N. Jackson's lectures on the history of Classical Greek literature have shown that his ability to teach is every bit as great as his scholarship.
And finally, the real purpose of this letter is not to spill out my indignation concerning these misconceptions of the Crimson, but to inform those men who will be sophomores next year and who have the desire but not the will to concentrate in the Classics, that the reward of the effort and the facilities for instruction will be much greater than they may have been led to think. J. F. Hayward, Jr. '40.
(Ed. Note. A careful reading of the editorial series on the Classics would show that the Crimson did not 'glorify' the social sciences, but traced, objectively, the origin and growth of the trend towards them).
Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.