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Anthony Grafton: Latin, 1 November 2001

Latin, or the Empire of a Sign: From the 16th to the 20th Centuries 
by Françoise Waquet, translated by John Howe.
Verso, 346 pp., £20, July 2001, 1 85984 615 7
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... into a symbol for traditionalism and intellectual sclerosis. In Latin, or the Empire of a Sign, Françoise Waquet tells a much more nuanced story. From the start, she emphasises that Latin was always as much a matter of ritual as of substance. True, the school, from the 16th century on, was ‘Latin country’. Boys were required to speak Latin in ...

Not Dead Yet

Anthony Grafton: Latin, 8 January 2015

Latin: Story of a World Language 
by Jürgen Leonhardt, translated by Kenneth Kronenberg.
Harvard, 352 pp., £22.95, November 2013, 978 0 674 05807 1
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... language. Scholars from different traditions may see things a little differently, arguing – as Françoise Waquet did in her elegant, witty Latin: The Empire of a Sign – that Latin retained its value as a mark of social and cultural distinction until quite recently. Leonhardt’s comparative approach illuminates the entire book. He notes, for ...

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