Cover Image: Long Live Latin

Long Live Latin

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Member Reviews

This is Latin nerd heaven, and Gardini's obvious passion and ethusiasm for the language, its literature and culture is sure to inspire some not-yet-Latinists to become true believers! :-) Don't expect some superficial motivational-speech-turned-book though: Gardini, a professor of comparative literature and a specialist for classical poetry, analyzes Catullus, Marcus Tullius Cicero, Ennius, Gaius Julius Caesar, Lucretius, Virgil, Tacitus, Sallust, Ovid, Livy, Seneca, Juvenal, Apuleius, Petronius, Augustine of Hippo, Propertius, and Horace. He explores specific forms like satire and themes like self-improvement, profanity, identity, sex and happiness in Latin texts and the Latin world.

A great book for everyone who loves the magic of language and its potential to disclose other worlds.
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There are so many difficulties with this book I hardly know where to begin. First, she has a pompous and professorial style. Although she says in one of her earlier chapters that she intends this book for high school and college students, the excessively long paragraphs, lists inside the paragraphs, and odd sentence structure make it difficult reading. Perhaps this is because it was written originally in Italian, I don't know. But it's too difficult for even well-educated folks this age.

Second, although I can understand her desire to focus on classical Latin, her dismissal of medieval, or Church, Latin, negates a great deal of what makes Latin enduring. Instead of respecting what the medieval Latin has contributed her airy dismissals show ignorance of history and some animosity to the Catholic Church instead of unbiased opinion.

Most chapters of the book focus on a single author or work and how he/it contributed to the development of classical language. That's a great approach which she illustrates with passages from the text, translated by herself. However, in some instances the English translations show exactly the opposite of the point she is trying to make. For example, in her lengthy chapter on the Aeneid, she makes a big deal about Virgil's revolutionary word order, but her translations do not use the word order she has been at pains to describe.

Then there is her lack of understanding of linguistics. She'll blithely cite an English word as having its origins in Latin but never tell us how they are related. She'll also ignore common words that have an obvious link in favor of the more obscure. She also makes claims about English as being heavily Latinate that just are not true linguistically. I might not have a problem with this except her profession is a Latin teacher, surely she has picked up more about languages than a non-professional such as this reviewer.

Gardini fell in love with Latin at a young age and was self-motivated to learn it.  Like many folks where this love of a subject is so natural, she really doesn't know how to learn Latin. Her suggestion is just to be exposed to it. Learn some grammar, read the classics. I know several folks who have studied Latin in just this way, including folks for whom languages came easily, and it just isn't this simple.

It's a shame because Latin, seen through many centuries of use, including medieval Latin, is vibrant and rewards the student with a deeper knowledge of and appreciation for our world. I wish this book had not made the study seem more toil than pleasure. I'm sure that's not what the author intended.
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This was an ok read, but the author didn't really convince me of the importance of still using Latin.  I feel as if it is still a language that is not beneficial for the majority of people.  Yes, it is a classic language and a lot of classic books and poetry use it, but not many people seek those out.
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I read about half of this book, and I'm marking it as dnf because although I really enjoyed Gardini's style, it was getting too esoteric for me. I am really interested in Latin and its enduring influences on the English language. However, I have a difficult time following examples when I don't have a good foundation of the subject, and most of the chapters here approach individual Latin authors and include translations and discussions about Latin cases. It became a little too dense for me to follow, but I think that someone with a better understanding of Latin could better appreciate Gardini's argument, rather than someone with a casual interest in the topic.
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An ode to the Latin language for lovers of Latin or those who have always been curious about it this book is for you#netgalley#fsg
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This book is a love letter to the Latin language. If I was not already in love, I would be falling into it too. I can not recommend it enough.
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