Life, Death, and Latin

John Williams, Stoner (Chp. 3):

“His dissertation topic had been ‘The Influence of the Classical Tradition upon the Medieval Lyric.’ He spent much of the summer rereading the classical and medieval Latin poets, and especially their poems upon death. He wondered again at the easy, graceful manner in which the Roman lyricists accepted the fact of death, as if the nothingness they faced were a tribute to the richness of the years they had enjoyed; and he marveled at the bitterness, the terror, the barely concealed hatred he found in some of the later Christian poets of the Latin tradition when the looked to the death which promised, however vaguely, a rich and ecstatic eternity of life, as if that death and promise were a mockery that soured the days of their living. When he thought of Masters, he thought of him as a Catullus or a more gentle and lyrical Juvenal, an exile in his own country, and thought of his death as another exile, more strange and lasting than he had known before.”

Image result for roman mosaic death

2 thoughts on “Life, Death, and Latin

    1. When I first saw the write up for the novel, I almost ignored it, assuming that it was some forgotten piece of Beat-Era blaze prose.

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