[lit-ideas] "The Great Go" (Is: Literæ Humaniores: The Secret History, anyone?

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 4 Nov 2007 22:29:32 EST

Thanks to J. Evans for the clarification. Yes, I see what you mean by  
'grammar' school. I was trying to connect the words, 'grammatike' with  
'literature'. I would think that even if that link you provide makes a 
reference  to the 
teaching of Latin _grammar_ I would think that the 'grammarians' were  thought 
of as 'literature' professors (and in retrospect, that's how I see ALL  
literature professors that I've ever had -- except Geary -- they were ALL 
Grammarians; so I was disheartened that Geary is now turning Phonetics Mr.  
Here below some quotes from the OED to the programme Grice followed at  
It would still be interesting to find who created in Oxford the titles for  
the current two(and only two no more than two) chairs in philosophy:
     -- Waynflete chair in metaphysical  philosophy
     -- White chair in moral philosophy
Both must be under strict coordination with the Lit. Hum. programme as  
supervised by Merton (College), but the details escape me. 
Oddly (and nicely so) Grice never taught _those_ courses, but at most was a  
_tutorial_ fellow with St. John's, or a _university lecturer_.
And I have a query: Since attendance to, say, talks by the Waynflete prof.  
of metaphysical philosophy are NOT mandatory, what would ****YOU***** do if you 
 find yourself being the prof. there -- on, say, a Wednesday morning at 8:00 
am,  and NO STUDENT to talk to? Would you leave (and call it a day)? What's 
the  procedure?
(I remember that on more than one occasion I was the ONLY Student for the  
Lectures on Mediaeval Philosophy and now that I think of it, I would think the  
professor would rather go home rather than lecture on Saint Bonaventura just 
for  me!)
I'm not sure about the university lecturers. From the readings of Grice's  
and Warnock's joint lecturers, I would think that they wouldn't care if there  
were students or not.
I was told that when Grice delivered the John Locke Lectures at Merton the  
hall wasn't precisely _crowded_ either.

J. L. 
--- graduate from the "Faculty of Philosophy and ***Letters*** [Letras] ",  
University of Buenos Aires. 
LITERAE HUMANIORES  [L., literally,  ‘more humane LETTERS’.]  The 
humanities, secular learning as  opposed to divinity; esp., at the University 
of Oxford, 
the study of Greek and  Roman [never Latin, which sounds "Caribean" -- JLS] 
*classical* LITERrature,  [all, not just classical] philosophy, and *ancient* 
history; also, =  Greats (C.10).  

1747 CHESTERFIELD  Let. 24 Nov. (1932)  III. 1057 
Studies of the Literæ Humaniores, especially  Greek. 
1760 STERNE Tr. Shandy (ed. 3) II. xii. 61, 
I would not depreciate what the study of the  Literæ humaniores, at the 
university, have done for me. 
1883  Sat. Rev. 3 Nov. 581/2 
We cannot conceive a better accompaniment to the  study of literæ humaniores. 
[than ...? The Yellow Book?]
1907  ‘B. BURKE’  Barbara [Allen?] goes to Oxford 43 
‘Greats’, you must know, is a nickname  for the school of ‘Literae Humaniores
1911  BEERBOHM Zuleika D. iii. 30 
He..was reading, a little, for Literae Humaniores. 
1926  FOWLER Mod. Eng. Usage 240/2 
The Humanities, or Litteræ  humaniores, as an old-fashioned name for the 
study of classical literature  [and philosophy, hey! JLS]
1962  K. CHORLEY  Arthur Hugh Clough iv. 72 
In Clough's day there were but two  schools open to men reading for In 
Clounamely, Mathematics and Literae  Humaniores. 
1965  J. A. W. BENNETT in J. Gibb Light on C. S. Lewis 48 
But litterae humaniores were  his foundation, and they did in every sense 
make him more humane, enlarging his  responses not restricting them. 
1972  Univ. Oxf. Examination Decrees I. 120 
The Subjects of the Honour School of Literæ  Humaniores shall be 
(I) Greek and Roman History, 
(II) Philosophy, [GRICE CHOSE THIS -- general philosophy, not just  classic]
(III) Greek and Latin Literature.
greats (Oxford  Univ. colloq.). 
The final examination for the degree of B.A.; now applied  esp. to the 
examination for Honours in Literæ Humaniores. The earlier  name was GREAT GO. 
Univ. slang. The final examination for the degree of B.A.  (At Oxford now 
called greats.) (Cf. little go.)  

1820 Gentl. Mag. XC. I. 32 
At present the examination [at the  University of Oxford] is divided into a 
Little-go and a Great-go. 
1825  C. M. WESTMACOTT Eng. Spy I. 137 
An examination that would far exceed the perils of  the great go. Ibid. 141 
When he enters upon life, action, or profession, both the  little go, and the 
great go, he will find to be a by go;  for he will find that he has gone by the 
best part of useful and substantial  learning; or that it has gone by him. 
1841  THACKERAY K. of Brentford vii, His little  go and great go He 
creditably pass'd. 
1876 ‘P. PYPER’  Mr. Gray & Neighb. I. 74 
Young Mr. Applebee had managed to pass  his ‘great go’ at Oxford, just about 
the time the living fell vacant.

1853  ‘C. BEDE’ Verdant Green II. xi, 
The little gentleman was going in for  his Degree, alias Great-go, alias 
1861  HUGHES Tom Brown at Oxf. I. x. 163 
In our second term we..begin to feel ourselves at  home, while both ‘smalls’ 
and ‘greats’ are sufficiently distant to be altogether  ignored if we are 
that way inclined. 
1884 G. ALLEN Strange Stories 175 Since I have  begun reading philosophy for 
my Greats.
1897  Westm. Gaz. 12 June 1/3 
There are..more entries for Modern History than for  Classical Greats.

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