Read Read Read ’til the Eyeballs Bleed

J.E. Sandys, A History of Scholarship Vol 3.

“A new era begins with the name of Friedrich August Wolf 1824). His father was the schoolmaster and organist of the little village of Hamrode near Nordhausen, south of the Harz, and it was to his mother that he owed the awakening of his intellectual life. Before he had attained the age of two, he knew a large number of Latin words, and, before he was eight, had acquired the rudiments of Greek and French, and could read an easy Latin author. His memory was as remarkable as that of Porson, who was born in the same year. His parents soon removed to Nordhausen, where, by the age of twelve, he had learned all that his instructors could teach him. At his new home, the first of his three head-masters was Johann Andreas Fabricius (1696 1769), the author of a History of Learning. Towards the end of his school-days he became his own teacher. Starting once more with the declensions, he ‘read with new eyes the Latin and Greek Classics, some carefully, others more cursorily; learnt by heart several books of Homer, and large portions of the Tragedians and Cicero, and went through Scapula’s Lexicon and Faber’s Thesaurus’. During this time of strenuous study, ‘he would sit up the whole night in a room without a stove, his feet in a pan of cold water, and one of his eyes bound up to rest the other’. Happily this severe ordeal ended with his removal to the university of Gottingen.”

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