Alatius wrote:Excellent link; thank you!
By the way, in the prooemium to the Latin edition of Treasure Island, I was surprised to find how Arcadius Avellanus, the translator, devotes a very large number of pages to peculiarly heated invectives against German latinists. Some highlights:
"Disquisitionibus his summis in Germania unum tantum defuit, bona fides. Non enim verum quesiverunt Germani, sed argumenta ad suas prÃ¦conceptas doctrinas, atque prÃ¦iudicia iam pridem parata, suffulcienda."
"...quod obtusa Germanorum mens perspicere non videtur. Debent perpetuo adversari ob nullam causam nisi malevolam simultatem; ..."
"Satis sciunt, sed contra agnitam veritatem luctantur."
"Femina, femur, femen, feteo, cena, sunt testimonia fÅ“dÃ¦ inscitiÃ¦ GermanicÃ¦." (I.e. that the Germans favour these forms, as opposed to "fÅ“mina", etc.)
"At Germani ne CÃ¦sarem quidem audire volunt, quia non quÃ¦runt veritatem, quÃ¦runt simultates, adversari volunt atque linguam Latinam corrumpere."
And so on, and on... It's amusing in a way, not the least since many of the things he impeaches are in accord with current teachings.
After reading through the majority of the same preface, I wholeheartedly agree with you Alatius. I've never seen such virulent attacks before. He seems to think the Germans are a lot of devils.
His vehemence got me interested, so I started looking into this Arcadius Avellanus. It turns out he is a very fascinating man, and it's a shame that he's all but fallen into complete obscurity.
In essence, he was born in Hungary in the mid 19th century and learned Latin fluently, both spoken and written, as a second language. He came over to the US at some point and spent the rest of his life as a stalwart proponent of living Latin and new teaching methods. He was a master linguist in a number of languages. He translated many thousands of pages of novels into Latin under a series called the "Mount Hope Classics," and published two monthly Latin periodicals. He published a textbook aimed at spoken Latin, and he edited many Renaissance dialogues. He also had a Latin group in New York he would meet with periodically to speak Latin.
He espoused Latin as a universal language, and he claimed to be able to teach anyone fluent Latin in a flash. In one story, after having taught a 10 year old boy for a short time, a stranger picked a passage from Livy which was deemed most difficult; after having read it aloud once, the boy was able to easily paraphrase the entire passage in Latin.
As we noted, Avellanus was also a violent critic of German scholars, and apparently held similarly strong views about everything. The author of the below memorial talks about this as his main weakness.
Anyways, I thought he struck a very fascinating character, and I was delighted to have stumbled across the story of his life. He was described as one of the best Latinists in the world... a Reginald Foster of his day, I suppose.
Here are some links of information:
An extensive memorial to Avellanus written by a friend in 1947. If you don't have Jstore, I can try to upload the article separately.
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.h ... 946997D6CF
A random violent, and I would say close-minded and imperialistic, attack on proponents of Esperanto, Germans, the modern languages, and anyone who has a problem with Latin.