16 April 2013

Cheese After Six Courses

William Johnson Cory (1823-1892) in a letter to Rev. E. D. Stone (Oct. 4, 1882), from Extracts from Letters and Journals, ed. Francis Warre Cornish (Oxford: Privately Printed, 1895), p. 486:
Our enjoyment of German music is unforced; our enjoyment of German poetry is a sort of cheese after six courses; our enjoyment of German prose is mere ἐθελοδουλεία [voluntary slavery].
I scout and hiss the notion of German being equivalent to Greek because of its copiousness, or because of its making the student use every muscle of the mind by compelling him to deal with varieties of style. Greek is not commensurate with German, because it contains about twenty several kinds of style or method, whilst in German there is only the difference between childishly simple verse structure and monstrously clumsy prose structure...