Being the crazy woman I am, I am going to start Beginning Latin on Wednesday nights at Harvard Extension, after work. I’ve never taken Latin before, and it wasn’t offered at my high school. However, since I’m a rare book cataloger, it’s really something I should have on my resume. Some jobs require it.
Beside helping me master the English language, which contains many Latinate words, there’s something inherently sexy about knowing a language that is so old and so widely used. There’s a reason rare book catalogers need Latin: a ton of books, mostly pre-1750s, are written in it.
Latin has played an important role in many of the books I’ve read in recent years. For example, in The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. Not only do the boys take Latin in school, but Ronan’s dreams are in Latin.
Holly Black wrote about a Latin club that has an unexpected dark side in the short story “In Vodka Veritas” (in vodka there is truth), which appeared in her book The Poison Eaters and Other Stories. I remember reading it and really longing to learn Latin. Then the story took a strange turn. You’d need to read it to know what I mean.
Robin Wasserman’s The Book of Blood and Shadow features a protagonist who is a Latin whiz. That’s the reason she gets set on the path she does. Without Latin, there wouldn’t be a plot in this book.
Have you taken Latin? Is this going to be intellectual torture for me, or something magical? What books have you read that feature Latin as a plot point? Let me know in the comments!