Letter | Published:

Compulsory Greek at Cambridge

Nature volume 71, page 414 (02 March 1905) | Download Citation



THE conclusion to be drawn from Mr. Bateson's letter seems to be that it is useless to compel candidates to get up subjects for which they have no aptitude, or in which they take no interest. The glories of “another world,” whether in science or art, are reserved for those that can see them, and a bright boy, not to say a dull one, is unlikely to discover the beauties of compulsory Greek, if he happens to have a distaste for dead languages. But is it not rather a narrow view which recognises only one new world and the entrance to it through compulsory Greek? It is said of a great creative mathematician that surveying his subject from a high pinnacle of abstract thought, he exclaimed, “And we too are poets”; but the most enthusiastic would scarcely expect this feeling to be aroused by compulsory mathematics in a dull boy; it does not seem to have occurred even to an exceptionally bright one.

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