4 thoughts on “Humor for pedants

  1. Apologies in advance for these ped-antics:
    Re-minds me of a couple of mostly relevant (to this and other threads) snippets:

    a) Imperial precedents – “I am the King of Rome, and above grammar.” Emperor Sigismund at the Council of Constance 1414, to a prelate who criticized his grammar.

    b) On the (startling) invention of the idea that prose could be beautiful (not just walking language) and the invention of history, from the New Yorker:

    In Herodotus’ own time, it’s worth remembering, the idea of “beautiful prose” would have been a revolutionary one: the ancient Greeks considered prose so debased in comparison to verse that they didn’t even have a word for it until decades after the historian wrote, when they started referring to it simply as psilos logos, “naked language,” or pedzos logos, “walking language” (as opposed to the dancing, or even airborne, language of poetry).

    http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2008/04/28/080428crbo_books_mendelsohn?currentPage=all
    Warning – normal NYer length article.

    • A great critique of, and eulogy to, Herodotus!

      Another interesting assertion: It only looks confusing or “digressive” because Herodotus, far from being an old fuddy-duddy, not nearly as sophisticated as (say) Thucydides, was two and a half millennia ahead of the technology that would have ideally suited his mentality and style. It occurs to you, as you read “The Landmark Herodotus”—with its very Herodotean footnotes, maps, charts, and illustrations—that a truly adventurous new edition of the Histories would take the digressive bits and turn them into what Herodotus would have done if only they’d existed: hyperlinks.

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