Imparting a classical education at home. Check out the Edwards Academy.

Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Lines of Literature: Good-Bye, Mr. Chips

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Good-Bye, Mr. Chips, a novella by James Hilton, this week. It is a touching tale of an aging schoolteacher, Mr. Chipping, in fin-de-siecle England.
. . . And once Chips had got into trouble because of some joke he had made about a boy's name. The boy wrote home about it, and his father sent an angry letter to Ralston. Touchy, no sense of humor, no sense of proportion--that was the matter with them, these new fellows. . . . No sense of proportion. And it was a sense of proportion, above all things, that Brookfield ought to teach--not so much Latin or Greek or Chemistry or Mechanics. And you couldn't expect to test that sense of proportion by setting papers and granting certificates. . . ."

"His room was furnished simply and with school masterly taste: a few bookshelves and sporting trophies; . . The books were chiefly classical, the classic having been his subject; there was, however, a seasoning of history and belles-lettres. There was also a bottom shelf piled up with cheap editions of detective novels. Chips enjoyed these. Sometimes he took down Vergil or Xenophon and read for a few moments, but he was soon back again with Doctor Thorndyke or Inspector French. he was no, despite his long years of assiduous teaching, a very profound classical scholar; indeed, he thought of Latin and Greek far more as dead languages from which English gentlemen ought to know a few quotations than as living tongues that had ever been spoken by living people. He liked those short leading articles in the Times that introduced a few tags that he recognized. To be among the dwindling number of people who understood such things was to him a kind of secret and valued freemasonry; it represented, he felt, one of the chief benefits to be derived from a classical education."
Good-Bye, Mr. Chips was a fun read, easily conquered in one evening. I'm guessing, however, that it will soon be a totally forgotten book. Chockablock with allusions to British history, sport, and culture that were probably common knowledge in 1934, it's an easy read but most readers of my generation will not recognize the allusions, or have the patience for them. I jotted down things that puzzled me and, thanks to Google, had a good time tracking them all down. Now, to see the movie.

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