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To the overwhelmed and perhaps slightly undiscerning tiro, his first visit to a summer
school of this kind was full of treasure both concealed and revealed. How refreshing
it was, in our fast-
The compactness and conciseness of the summer school's activities are to be praised;
indeed, there was scarcely a moment from 9.00 am. to 8.30 pm. when our minds were
not focussing on things classical, whether in organised study or informal discussion
One regret was that the exigencies of time and money did not allow us to get much of a look at Lancaster and the surrounding countryside; but this is one of the sacrifices to be made in these hard times.
The heading on several of the sheets of information disseminated had in italics the
words 'The Classical Summer School run by practising teachers for practising teachers'
The facilities at the University of Lancaster were beyond reproach -
For me the highlight of the week was the Thursday night before our departure, when
we journeyed in a cavalcade of cars to John and Shelagh Randall's eyrie on the moors
above Lancaster -
I had never, until this year, got beyond the title of the A.R.LT., feeling sure that any Associat ion with such a name would hold nothing to attract me. Yet, by some visual quirk, I noticed that the 1977 conference included classes in prose composition, an area in which I have an uncomfortably vast ignorance and an even larger insecurity. So. feeling virtuous and maybe even a bit masochistic,
I sent in my name, still sure that the members would be probably well-
The physical surroundings -
expeditions, which are apparently a normal and enjoyable part of most conferences , could not be fitted in. It also meant, since everything else was fitted in, that there was a vague but real feeling of being always on the way to something but never on the way from anything.
The expected eccentrics failed to turn up (perhaps they do not really exist?) and
the lively and friendly atmosphere, the sense of a group of people, people with interests
in common, meeting and learning was a most pleasurable one. Pronunciation classes,
the reading aloud of a Latin text, circuli, classes on visual presentation of stories,
literary appreciation classes in which the stress was on guidance from the leader
rather than dogmatic assertion,and, of course, the dread Latin prose composition
succeeded one another in a kaleidoscopic whirl. Lancaster fed us almost too well
: the evening lectures were punctuated by the occasional snore from those whose stomachs
demanded the post-
On Thursday evening the pace changed as the conference removed itself to Mr. Randal 's house for an evening's entertainment. From all the things which ought to be mentioned I should like to remark the results of the drama class which rivalled the sheer hilarity of 'A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum'.
The unique feature of the course, from my point of view, was its emphasis on individual
participation and on the real needs of the classics teacher. There was enthusiasm.
a wide range of interests , a lot of amusement, and, at the end, a feeling of having
attended something worthwhile and -
Hoc illud est, 0 Arelates ? lam me relinquere vultis? Magno dolore afficior et quodam gaudio. Doleo quod multas per gentes et multa per aequora vecti domum redibitis. De hac re quid dicam? Quod genus dicendi sumam? Nempe genus propemptikon. Crudeles divi, quot et quantos dolores hominibus dedistis.
Sed gaudeo quod in magnum discrimen adducti iam salvi estis. Nam vos, virgines pulcherrimae iuvenesque gracillimi, domo erepti, in currus novas coacti qui (mirabile dictu) se movent nec tamen equos habent, huc ad Universitatem Lancastrensem pervenistis. Hic labor ille domus et inextricabilis error.
Hora novissima erat. Vos tamen dulce cantabatis tamquam olores morituri. Nonnulli etiam epitafion sibi scripserunt, quod nunc vobis legam:
Saepe per ambages hue illuc currere pergit
difficilique errat maesta caterva via
undique pervolitant acies agitata; magistro
omnis discipuli lingua loquente favet.
cqomskia director didicit, quae dicta docebit
nos quoque, quisque Arelas discit amare Noam.
Carmen doctum, mehercule, neque illepidum, haud simile eis quae scribuntur aquae potoribus.
At Theseus vester aderat, huius societatis praeses . Stricto gladio, cui sua acies erat, nec acies oculorum nec acies multorum militum sed iila quae gladio propria est, noctem pervigilabat , ut Minotaurum necaret. In hoc tanto rerum discrimine ego, fatebor enim, tamquam riqaspisths<: fugi et apud me dormiebam. Sed Theseus vester victor evasit.
Nunc triumphantes lusistis satis, edistis satis atque bibistis; tempus abire vobis est. Discedite ergo laetantes meique memores.
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