I am still writing my essay about Galatians, and it is starting to look like an essay; the trouble is, whenever I write something of this sort (something I have no interest in whatsoever, hermeneutics, the implications of the use of Greek subjunctives, genitives etc - boring!), I read it back to myself, and I just seem to be belabouring the same point, it just sounds repetitive. I wonder if anyone else has that problem? Well, I'm not bothered at this stage; so long as I get at least a 2:1 (which is my average so far), I shall be glad to be rid of it. Even more daunting is the exam though...I wonder if I can get away with deferring it again? It would be a great weight lifted. I almost cried last night looking at two old exam papers. I only knew how to answer one question, and even that would be a ludicrously inadequate answer.
Anyway, on my short break from essay-writing, I picked up one of my favourite resources: The Letters of J.R.R Tolkien (I would strongly recommend this book, it gives invaluable details, explanations, commentaries on not only his work, but also his faith, academic life, publication issues, the personal letters to his sons and daughter are particularly beautiful). This quote comes from a draft letter to Walter Allen, dated April 1959:
''Life is rather above the measure of us all (save for a very few perhaps). We all need literature that is above our measure - though we may not have sufficient energy for it all the time. But the energy of youth is usually greater. Youth needs then less than adulthood or Age what is down to its (supposed) measure. But even in Age I think we only are really moved by what is at least in some point or aspect above us, above our measure, at any rate before we have read it and 'taken it in.' Therefore do not write down to Children or to anybody. Not even in language. Though it would be a good thing if that great reverence which is due to children took the form of eschewing the tired and flabby cliches of adult life. But an honest word is an honest word, and its acquaintance can only be made by meeting it in a right context. A good vocabulary is not acquired by reading books written according to some notion of the vocabulary of one's age-group. It comes from reading books above one.''
Sorry if this seems entirely meaningless, but I think that the same applies to learning a new language. Reading simple Latin stories is easy, perhaps too easy, for me, and no matter what I said about reading Virgil or Caesar as being ''too hard'' (at least at the moment), I do find immense joy in translating their works, looking at an acclaimed English translation, and finding that I am not so far from the mark as I would sometimes think (this is especially true of Latin Verse such as Virgil's Eclogues, which I abandoned sometime ago for reasons of necessity; reading the Oxford translation, which is in keeping with the metre, I actually found my translation was more literal, and that in keeping with the metre, the Oxford edition lost something). Well, I best get back to work now or I shall fail utterly.
By the way, a new '62 Missal arrived this morning which I had ordered from AbeBooks. 1862 that is...