But people like this live less like Achilles than anyone else. Achilles loved his friend to the point of slaughter and death, burned with energetic youth, and laughed at cowardice. He never touched a book. He never painstakingly learned an ancient language. He never sat still for two hours in a hot room, teaching a flock of restless nineteen-year-olds.
|Not a conjugation in sight.|
I don't mean to suggest that there's no value in reading for its own sake. I'm the one, after all, who advocates a heavily classicist curriculum. It's fun, interesting and useful to read old books in old languages. But there are more things in life than reading, and in any case, to really take the classics seriously, we must live lives outside the library. The best reader has felt the rage of Achilles, the madness of Saul, and the longing of Orpheus.