Retro Reads discussion

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General > Retro authors and education

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message 1: by Jay (new)

Jay | 26 comments I was just wondering about the quality of education available to some of these writers.
MM Kaye, Rumer Godden and Georgette Heyer went to school or were privately educated. None went to college. Yet they managed to be well read and knowledgeable about so many different fields - history, culture, mythology, languages, and were able to draw on it as appropriate in their writing.
I often wonder- is the fact of the vast number of subjects taught in school today (often with their inter connectivity poorly understood) the reason why few people seem to know stuff in depth any more.
I am reading Vera Brittain's "Testament to Youth". Her love interest was in school (17 years at most) and he was writing original poetry in Greek and Latin apart from translating one to the other.


message 2: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 724 comments You're right, Jay, education surely isn't what it used to be! And I am always in awe of how British people of that era could read something once and then keep its details at their fingertips. I understand the British system of the day involved a lot of memorization, and it seems to have developed (in the good students at least) a retentive habit of mind. And they did it all without being able to Google anything!


message 3: by Linda (new)

Linda Dobinson (baspoet) | 57 comments What would we do without Google??? :)
Yes, people in the past were very intelligent, more so than today because we don't need to be as everything we need to know is at our fingertips - good in one way so sad in another.


message 4: by Phair (new)

Phair (sphair) One of the things I am constantly thankful for is the fact that I had to take 2 years of Latin in high school back in the 60s [that was to get an "English" diploma. To get a "Classical" diploma you had to take 4 years plus Greek. This was a US college prep type high school.]

Anyway, I am amazed at how often that background comes in handy, especially when it comes to figuring out the meaning of words and, of course, answering Jeopardy questions.


message 5: by Rosina (new)

Rosina (rosinarowantree) Phair wrote: "One of the things I am constantly thankful for is the fact that I had to take 2 years of Latin in high school back in the 60s [that was to get an "English" diploma. To get a "Classical" diploma you..."

I tend to work the other way - my English vocabulary (and French, and a smattering of Spanish) helps me translate Latin tags.

I don't know if the Lymond Chronicles are quite old enough to be retro-reads, but I know I was puzzling over the various snippets of Old German, and Spanish, and other languages, and delighting in translating them. Nowadays, people complain that it's all too difficult.


message 6: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 724 comments Personally, I think the Lymond (no, Spell Check, not "almond") Chronicles would make great retro reads!


Christmas Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 1750 comments Mod
Abigail wrote: "Personally, I think the Lymond (no, Spell Check, not "almond") Chronicles would make great retro reads!"

I just took a quick look at the first Lymond Chronicles & that is definitely in our time frame (first published 1961) I'll check out the whole series later.

The Mitfords I think were at least party home schooled (their brother may have gone away to school & university, can anyone with a better memory than mine confirm?) & they chose to learn what interested them.

PS: Abigail you have been name checked in the Royal Escape thread over at the GH board!


message 8: by Susan in NC (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 1414 comments Abigail wrote: "Personally, I think the Lymond (no, Spell Check, not "almond") Chronicles would make great retro reads!"

Oh, I’ve never read those but am very intrigued, I think they’d be a wonderful Retro Read!


message 9: by Jay (new)

Jay | 26 comments Appropriate Latin quips are what seem to survive in the memory long after school days. My favorite one was what Robert Clive supposedly sent after conquering the province of Sindh (present day Pakistan)

"Peccavi"


message 10: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 724 comments So he knew it was a sin but did it anyway?


message 11: by Jay (new)

Jay | 26 comments I rather think he meant I have Sindh :) And I bet he didn't consider it a sin


message 12: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 724 comments I went and checked, Carol--always glad when lowly copy editors are appreciated! Though I would have been pretty daunted if I'd had to copyedit The Mysteries of Udolpho. When I tried to read it myself, I only made it as far as the black veil.


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