The Disco Biscuits Wrap Up Explosive Washington, D.C. Weekend At The Anthem

first_imgOn Saturday, The Disco Biscuits returned to Washington, D.C. for a show at The Anthem, following an old-school Friday night dance party at the nearby Lincoln Theatre.The Disco Biscuits opened their first set with “On Time”, setting a trancey vibe for the evening. The four-piece worked into “Tricycle”, with Jon “Barber” Gutwillig laying down some intricate guitar solos behind Marc Brownstein’s thunderous bass groove. Aron Magner quickly joined in on the fun, firing off some space-like riffs on his synth. The band kept on pushing forward with an inverted “Aceetobee”, before smoothly transitioning into “Loose Change”. Allen Aucoin set the tempo for “Loose Change”, as Brownstein quickly found his bandmate to weave an intricate pocket, allowing Barber to take the lead. Barbs let it all hang out during last nights “Loose Change”, firing off a series of earth-shattering solos. The Disco Biscuits decided to sandwich their entire first set last night, bringing things to a close with “On Time”.Following a brief set break, The Disco Biscuits returned to open their second set with “Magellan”, following a “Magellan Reprise” encore the night prior. Magner led the band into “Magellan” with some delicate work on the keys, before Barber ran into the vocal segment of the song. The quartet invited the crowd on a breezy ride, that quickly turned into a more rowdy affair. Following “Magellan”, the band sandwiched “Munchkin Invasion” in between a hearty “Jigsaw Earth”, showcasing their innate ability to let loose and see where the music takes them. A colossal rendition of “Story of the World” with an inverted “Therapy” brought the improv-heavy second to an end. A lone encore of “Highwire” gave fans one last chance to boogie down, as The Biscuits ended their two-night Washington, D.C. weekend on a high note.Next up on The Disco Biscuits schedule is a three-night run next weekend at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY’s.For ticketing information and a full list of the band’s upcoming tour dates, head to The Disco Biscuits’ website.Setlist: The Disco Biscuits | The Anthem | Washington, D.C. | 1/26/2019Set One: On Time-> Tricycle-> Aceetobee (inverted)-> Loose Change-> On TimeSet Two: Magellan, Jigsaw Earth-> Munchkin Invasion-> Jigsaw Earth, Story of the Word-> Therapy (inverted)-> Story of the WorldEncore: Highwirelast_img read more

Heavy Metal Reportedly Fastest-Growing Genre In Music

first_imgAs mainstream rock continues its ongoing identity crisis, heavy metal and hard rock have found a place as one of, if not the fastest-growing genres in the music industry, according to a new report that Billboard shared last week.According to TuneCore, a popular independent digital music distributor, a record earning of $1.5 billion in download and streaming revenue was earned by songwriters and copyright holders around the world in 2018. The report, which breaks down the revenue statistics by both genre and country of publication, heavy metal of all genres saw a notable 154% increase in streaming in 2018, out-earning a 133% increase seen by J-Pop, and 68% increase in R&B/Soul genres. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, TuneCore copyright holders across all genres earned $83 million in the first financial quarter of 2019, marking a 21% increase over the first quarter of 2018. And who says there’s no money in recorded music these days?Related: Tool Debuts First New Music In More Than A Decade At Welcome To RockvilleWith new albums on the way from high-profile hard rock acts like Tool and Slipknot expected later this year, those numbers will only grow as fans of the hard-hitting genre continue to prove they’re arguably the most dedicated in the global music community.Hard rock fans around the country also continue to headbang and mosh in celebration of new festivals set to take place later this year, including the inaugural Exit 111 Fest and Sonic Temple Festival both scheduled for this summer.[H/T Loudwire]last_img read more

Watch Elton John, Taron Egerton Perform “Rocket Man” At Cannes Premiere [Video]

first_imgAn Elton John biopic, Rocketman, is on the way, chronicling the life of the iconic singer/songwriter from his days as a young boy in England, through his illustrious career, and to the height of his fame in the 1970s. Welsh actor Taron Egerton portrays Sir Elton John in the upcoming film, which is slated for release in theaters worldwide on May 31st, 2019. The film also stars Jamie Bell, Richard Madden, and Bryce Dallas Howard, was directed by Dexter Fletcher, and written by Lee Hall.Recently, Elton John offered up a brief performance during the biopic’s premiere at the Cannes gala party for the film. None other than Taron Egerton surprised the crowd and hopped on stage, as the two performers worked through a lush rendition of “Rocket Man”, an appropriately fitting number for the evening. John also offered up a performance of his 1982 multi-platinum hit, “I’m Still Standing”.According to Rolling Stone, John told the crowd, “This has been a very emotional night for me. Even if the movie doesn’t make one penny at the box office, which will kill Jim Gianopulos, it is the movie I wanted to make.”Watch Elton John and Taron Egerton’s “Rocket Man” performance below:Elton John & Taron Egerton – “Rocket Man”  [Video: Paramount Pictures]Earlier in 2018, the prolific musician announced that he will retire from touring with an extensive 300-date tour dubbed “Farewell Yellow Brick Road.” The massive global farewell tour will likely span through to 2021, John reported on Anderson Cooper. At 70 years old, John explained his reasoning behind his farewell, noting, “My priorities have changed in my life. … My priorities now are my children, my husband, my family. I thought the time is right to say thank you to my fans and say goodbye.”Though the tour is likely to continue for years, John noted that once the tour is over, he’ll be done for good. As John explained, “I’m not going to say I’m retiring and then do a world tour. I’m not Cher.”For ticketing information and a full list of upcoming tour dates, head to Elton John’s website.[H/T Rolling Stone]last_img read more

Faculty Council meeting held May 5

first_imgAt its 13th and final meeting of the year on May 5, the Faculty Council approved next year’s Handbook for Students and Courses of Instruction for the College and the courses for the University Extension School. The council also heard a proposal regarding the administration of final examinations.last_img

Morning glories

first_imgIt is the jewel of Harvard’s weeklong Commencement celebration, the morning on which the Yard is crowded with graduates old and new, and in which pomp and play and pride seek full measure.“That’s the idea, that nothing changes,” said Victor Ford ’53 of the Commencement pageantry today (May 27). Ford, pastor emeritus at First Church in nearby Charlestown, where College benefactor John Harvard worshiped, stood with his cane near Johnston Gate.Beginning the day was the traditional Senior Class Chapel Service at the Memorial Church. The dais belonged to the Rev. Peter J. Gomes, the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church.“You have not survived four years here simply to be lost in the universe,” Gomes told the seniors, some of them sitting up on the altar and some spilling into the aisles. “Something of the greatness and the goodness that is in each of you will survive, and in certain cases even prevail.”He cautioned the students against striving for the kind of greatness that is too often tied to a drive simply to achieve. Instead, Gomes urged the graduating class to aim, above all, for goodness.Gomes acknowledged that some listeners may perform great deeds, such as finding a cure for cancer or a “sensible way of explaining the economy,” and that he would be grateful for their successes. But he suggested that most of the graduates would simply be “called upon to do small and ordinary things as well as possible.”Gomes added, “If you do that well, you will have remade our world and your little corner of it, you will have justified our high hopes in you, and you will have given substance to the ancient vision for a new heaven and a new Earth.”“Know that the world will be a better place,” he said, “for your honest participation in it.”Gomes’ message resonated with Laurel Macey of Winthrop House, a human evolutionary biology concentrator who will work in a research lab at the Harvard School of Public Health in the fall.“I liked that he reminded us that we should not strive for greatness, we should just strive for goodness, and then great things will follow,” she said. “That’s an important message for Harvard students … that sometimes it is more important to just be good.”Excitement rose in the Old Yard as seniors, alumni, faculty, and staff gathered to form their long procession lines. The parade, an annual ritual replete with bright, multicolored academic gowns and hoods, processes through the Yard and into Tercentenary Theatre, the outdoor area between the Memorial Church and Widener Library, which was first used in 1936 as a ceremonial gathering point to celebrate the College’s 300th anniversary.Fred Abernathy, Gordon McKay Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Abbott and James Lawrence Research Professor of Engineering, stood atop his traditional small podium near Johnston Gate and organized the procession. He called out facts and figures from years gone by to correspond with a particular alumni class, as well as humorous quips.“Slowly for the honorands. Don’t march too fast; it is not a race,” said Abernathy of the group of speedy honorary degree recipients hurrying by, which included actress Meryl Streep. She wore tinted glasses and a pair of impressively high wedge shoes.Inside the Yard, Sheriff of Middlesex County James V. DiPaola opened the Morning Exercises with three sharp raps of his silver-tipped staff. His call was loud, resonant, and stentorian: “This meeting will be in order.”The words are one of the traditions during Commencement Week’s biggest day. But a few things do change — the degree recipients, for one, all 7,125 of them this year, on the 359th Commencement. The recipients of honorary degrees change too. There were 10 this year, from retired U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice David H. Souter ’61, LL.B. ’66, to education innovator Freeman A. Hrabowski III and iconic actress Meryl Streep.But even the honorands can’t escape at least one short-term Harvard tradition: the tight, bright, punning descriptions of them by President Drew Faust. “A formidable man of steel,” she called sculptor-in-metal Richard Serra, “he has knocked sculpture off its pedestal.”Harvard Provost Steven Hyman brought his own game to Faust’s wordplay. “Merrily we honor,” he said in an introduction, “Meryl Streep.” The Academy Award-winning actress, who sat on stage next to Souter, stood and blew a kiss to the audience when her degree was conferred. Though it wasn’t her hardest role (Streep has been nominated 16 times for the Oscar, winning two), it was the performance everyone had been waiting for. The crowd went wild.There were also wild crowds, School by School, as degrees were conferred on the graduates. The newest grads of Harvard Law School waved wooden gavels. Kennedy School grads threw inflatable globes into the air, and those of the Graduate School of Education waved books.For more serious traditions, there are the three orations by graduates.The Latin Salutatory by Mary Anne Marks ’10 included a phrase that most observers recognized, “multum laboris,” or, “a great deal of work.” That’s university life, in any language.Chiamaka Lilian Nwakeze ’10 delivered the Senior English Address, “Poetry for Chemists,” an argument that a liberal arts education deepens understanding of the sciences. It is “a scaffold on which individuals are formed,” she said, a broad education that bestows “an interconnected consciousness … for a total picture of reality.”Comedian James “Jimmy” Tingle, who received a master’s degree in public administration from the Kennedy School, rocked the house with the Graduate English Address, even while confessing he spent his boyhood thinking of Harvard as simply “a good place to steal bicycles.”Tingle started as a street performer in Harvard Square. “I don’t want to brag, but two years ago I performed in Europe,” he said, and then paused. “And I have to say: excellent country.”Tingle also described his temporary academic stumbling block, a required course in statistics. If he can pass statistics at Harvard, he said, then one other thing is certainly possible: “world peace.”last_img read more

Spouting off

first_imgIf you ever wondered why your mother poured Sunday morning’s bacon grease into an empty can, it’s because mother really knew best: She was trying to prevent a human-made disaster in the sewers.Each year, millions of gallons of grease clog sewers, causing them to overflow and setting off a costly environmental and public health fiasco. But, to Susan Leal and Peter Rogers, grease is just one of many urgent issues facing water resources in the world today.“There is no life without water — biological systems do not function without it,” said Rogers, Gordon McKay Professor of Environmental Engineering in Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.“Currently, there is much more attention given to energy and oil as important resources. But, while there are substitutes for oil and energy — with wind, solar, and biofuels — there is no substitute for water. It is essential for everything from the food we eat to basic hygiene,” said Leal, a water utility expert and a senior research fellow at Harvard’s Advanced Leadership Initiative.In their new book, “Running Out of Water: The Looming Crisis and Solutions to Conserve Our Most Precious Resource,” Rogers and Leal discuss water’s global predicament as the world’s population soars to 8 billion, and present some simple ways to preserve and conserve, which include pushing lawmakers to make water a priority. Political will begins with the public, Rogers and Leal say.Leal, who had been encouraged to write a book about water as part of her fellowship, “quickly dispensed of the idea as being too ‘academic,’ ” she said. Then she met Rogers, “who was grappling with how to write a book on water geared toward a general readership audience. We agreed to write the book together with a focus on solutions to our water crisis. We eschewed the doom and gloom and decided to describe and promote the water success stories.”The result, said Rogers, was “perfect serendipity.”“In our book we give examples of the intelligent use of existing technologies, which if applied could greatly reduce the crisis to manageable proportions without necessarily requiring major sacrifices on anybody’s part,” he said.“One solution for averting the impending water crisis is water reuse,” Rogers continued. “Treating sewer water and using it for irrigation and, in some cases, as potable water. In several locales throughout the world, water reuse has been successfully implemented and accepted by consumers.”“We also describe solutions applicable to large agricultural users and involve the application of innovative technologies such as center pivots and drip irrigation, as well as new drought-resistant and high-yielding crop varieties to achieve better crop yield with less water use,” said Leal. “The book is filled with solutions that can and should be replicated.”Another conundrum is the widespread acceptance of bottled water, which has eroded the public’s faith in tap water. Not to mention, most bottles are never recycled.“Consumers should avoid the silly spending on bottled water. And, water utilities need to educate their customers about the quality of tap water and inform them that it has to meet a higher federal standard than bottled water,” said Rogers.Said Leal: “States should require that bottled water be labeled to disclose the source of the water. In many cases, the source of bottled water is municipal tap water.”Take that, Evian.last_img read more

Muhsin Mahdi

first_imgProfessor Muhsin S. Mahdi, James Richard Jewett Professor of Arabic Emeritus, at Harvard University, died on July 9, 2007, in Brookline, Massachusetts, after a long series of illnesses, at the age of 81. Universally acclaimed as the leading specialist in medieval Arabic and Islamic philosophy, Mahdi was born in 1926 in the city of Karbala, Iraq, where his mother gave birth to him leaning against the wall of the sanctuary of Imam al-Husayn. After schooling in Karbala and Najaf, he finished high school in Baghdad. An outstanding student, he was awarded a government scholarship to study business administration at the American University of Beirut, where he earned both a B.B.A. and a B.A. in philosophy (1947). He taught for a year at the University of Baghdad (1947-1948) before coming to the United States on another Iraqi government scholarship to begin graduate studies in economics at the University of Chicago. Here he was soon able to pursue his true vocation: he studied with Nabia Abbott at the Oriental Institute and began his profound exploration of political philosophy under the guidance of Leo Strauss (1948-1954). His dissertation, on Ibn Khaldūn, was immediately recognized as groundbreaking.After a year as a post-doctoral fellow in Paris and two more years of teaching at the University of Baghdad, he returned to the University of Chicago, where he taught in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from 1957-1969. At Harvard University from 1969 until his retirement in 1996, he was the James Richard Jewett Professor of Arabic and served as director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and later also as chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. Mahdi conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Freiburg, Germany. He was a Rockefeller Foundation research fellow and a Fulbright research scholar in Morocco. He held visiting professorships at the University of Freiburg, the American University in Cairo, the Central Institute of Islamic Research in Pakistan, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Bordeaux. He was a founding member and president of the International Society for the History of Arabic Sciences and Philosophy and a founding member and board member of the Middle East Studies Association. He served on the editorial boards of four important journals in the field: Arabic Sciences and Philosophy: A Historical Journal; the Journal of Near Eastern Studies; Hamdard Islamicus; and Interpretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy. He also served as president of the American Research Center in Egypt and was honored by being the first corresponding member of the Cairo Academy of Arabic Language.Upon retirement, he divided his time between Cambridge, Massachusetts, the French countryside, and Paris, where he lectured at the Institut du Monde Arabe and frequented the cafés and bookshops that were the meeting places of artists and intellectuals from all over the Muslim world, many of them former students. Shortly before his death, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the American University in Cairo—sadly, in absentia. Professor Mahdi had an incomparable command of the medieval Arabic language in its many varieties (depending on subject matter, geographical and/or religious context, and author’s training). Having steeped himself in the well-proven methods of critical editions of manuscripts developed in Western scholarship, he ardently desired to establish the same rigorous standards in the field of Arabic and Islamic philosophy. He devoted much of his career to searching for manuscripts wherever his travels took him. A rigorous but stimulating teacher, he emphasized fine-tuned analysis and interpretation of the Arabic philosophical texts. He was an enormously influential teacher, and one who inspired great loyalty from his students. A sense of Mahdi’s teaching can be gauged by the impressive 1992 festschrift, The Political Aspects of Islamic Philosophy, edited by one of his closest students, Charles Butterworth. He is especially known for the recovery, edition, translation, and analysis of the writings of the philosopher Abū Nasr al-Fārābī (870-950 CE). His last book, Alfarabi and the Foundation of Islamic Political Philosophy (2001), is a collection of luminous and illuminating essays. With Ralph Lerner of Chicago and the late Ernest Fortin of Boston College, he co-edited Medieval Political Philosophy, a sourcebook that includes selections in translation from Hebrew, Latin, and Arabic. However, there is a second pillar of Muhsin Mahdi’s fame: his critical edition of the earliest extant manuscript of The Thousand and One Nights—a core of tales that would be transformed and expanded, beginning with Galland and going on to Lane and Burton and beyond, into the quintessential Orientalist creation of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (Alf Layla wa Layla, Leiden, 1984; third volume, in English, 1994). The edition was the outcome of a Herculean labor, since the manuscripts of the Thousand and One Nights are numerous, though mostly not very old, and the text, being on the border of oral and written literature, is in constant flux, which meant that Mahdi had to develop a special method to achieve what would deserve to be called a critical text.As Steve Lenzner has written, “In his life and work, Muhsin Mahdi transcended the idea of East and West. He was, as a friend put it after his death, a liberal in the old-fashioned and elevated sense, deeply versed in, and shaped by, the world’s great books. In no way did this show itself more clearly than in Mahdi’s devotion to his teacher Leo Strauss. Mahdi’s last book, Alfarabi and the Foundation of Islamic Political Philosophy (2001)—the fruit of a lifetime of study and unsurpassed on the subject—bears the dedication: ‘For L.S.—If we had to repay the debt of gratitude incurred by his kindness to us, not even the whole of time would suffice.’” Some colleagues considered the Nights a diversion from his work in philosophy, but those with deeper understanding have always known that creative literature often serves as a refuge for political philosophy in troubled times.  Charismatic and charming, with a mischievous smile and a cordial laugh, Muhsin Mahdi was also an intensely private person who maintained the stance of a true philosopher throughout decades marked by conflict between and among peoples of the three religions of the Book. It is evident, however, that the destruction of his native land by his adopted country was finally too much for him. His health, already seriously affected by the Gulf War in 1992, was dealt another blow in September 2001. March 2003 was a fatal wound, although it took him four more years of mental and physical anguish and suffering to die from it.Professor Mahdi is survived by his wife, Sarah Roche-Mahdi; two daughters, Fatima and Nadia, from a previous marriage to Cynthia Risner; and two stepdaughters, Rachel and Rebekah Gerstein. He is also survived by his first wife, Louise Carus Mahdi.  His granddaughter Lina Morouj Colla, daughter of Nadia and her husband, Elliott Colla, was born October 31, 2007.Respectfully submitted,William A. GrahamJohn E. MurdochAbdelhamid I. SabraWheeler M.ThackstonW. P. Heinrichs, Chairlast_img read more

Summers wins Global Economy Prize

first_imgLawrence S. Summers, Charles W. Eliot University Professor and president emeritus at Harvard University, has been awarded the 2011 Global Economy Prize by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. The awards ceremony was held June 19 in Kiel, Germany.“The Global Economy Prize highlights the achievements of those who view globalization as an opportunity to tap our creative potential,” said institute president Dennis J. Shower. “The prize winners recognize that our standard of living can be protected only through free market activity itself. Success in the globalization process requires adequate incentives to work, save, invest, and obtain training and education. By these means, societies promote economic activity based on individual initiative and responsibility and avoid wasting our physical and human resources.”Summers currently serves as co-faculty director of Harvard Kennedy School’s Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government. He has served in a number of senior policy positions in the federal government including as director of the National Economic Council for the Obama administration from 2009 to 2011, and as secretary of the U.S. Treasury from 1999 to 2001. He has also served as vice president of development economics and chief economist of the World Bank.For more information.last_img read more

Harvard rolls out discounted Hubway membership

first_imgCycling around campus has never been easier or cheaper.  CommuterChoice and Hubway, Metro-Boston’s regional bike share, are happy to announce a new, discounted annual membership rate of just $50 for students, faculty and staff.  That’s 40% less than the previous cost of membership. Harvard now supports 12 stations, plus there are dozens of locations throughout the region, meaning there are plenty of convenient pick-up and drop-off points.To sign up for an annual membership, simply visit thehubway.com, select Harvard University and then follow the instructions. “The number of people in the Harvard community who are bicycling to work or for fun is growing fast,” said Associate Director of CommuterChoice Kris Locke.  “We want to keep the momentum going because bike sharing is clearly fulfilling a large need.” In fact, the number of bike share stations across the region has nearly doubled since last summer.Click here to watch a brief video about how easy it is to use Hubway. Also, follow them on Twitter and Facebook to learn about the latest Hubway news and information.last_img read more

Harvard’s Indian College poet

first_imgFor nearly 300 years, Harvard student Benjamin Larnell (c. 1694–1714) was simply a footnote to scholars of Native American history. They knew that he was the last student of the colonial era associated with Harvard’s Indian College, that he died from fever before graduating with the Class of 1716, that he liked to socialize and fight, and that he was an accomplished student poet.“He gets a footnote in every book,” said Stuart M. McManus, a fourth-year Ph.D. student in history at Harvard. “He was known to be very good (at poetry), but we didn’t have any evidence of this.”Until now, that is. Last year, McManus found a Latin poem by Larnell, a single page that not only shows competence and creative promise, but also gives scholars a rare window into the classrooms of pre-Revolutionary America. A study of the poem, co-authored with fifth-year Classics graduate student Tom Keeline, will appear next spring in Harvard Studies in Classical Philology.McManus is writing his dissertation on how Ciceronian Latin rhetoric was the pedagogical lodestar of humanistic learning from the Middle Ages onward, how it was exported to the disparate cultures of the European colonies, and how it changed in those new contexts. His research in colonial-era archives throughout the world involves “looking for anything written in Latin, basically,” he said.Last year, McManus was scouring catalog entries at the Massachusetts Historical Society when he discovered the poem by a student who soon went on to Harvard’s Indian College. “I had no idea who Benjamin Larnell was,” he said.Larnell, he soon found out, was the fifth and last Native American student at Harvard in the colonial era. Only one graduated, Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck, in 1665. (His classmate Joel Iacoomes, who died just before graduating, received his A.B. in a special Commencement ceremony in 2011. Another Indian student of that era died of smallpox; one left Harvard to become a mariner.)Most of the Larnell footnotes, said McManus, include oft-quoted praise from Harvard President John Leverett, who called the teenager “an acute grammarian, an extraordinary Latin poet, and a good Greek one.”The poem itselfLarnell’s poem, “Fable of the Fox and the Weasel,” now joins just two other examples of Native American writing in classical languages from the days of the Harvard Indian College: elegiac couplets in Latin and Greek by undergraduate Eleazar, who died in 1678, and a Latin address that Cheeshahteaumuck wrote to English benefactors of Harvard.Larnell was likely 15 or 16 when he wrote this newly discovered (but undated) poem. He was a student at Boston Latin School, where he was precocious enough to skip two of seven grades, and where he preceded Benjamin Franklin by a few years.“It’s a school assignment, not a romantic outpouring of feelings,” said Keeline, who finely parsed the Larnell poem’s metrics, grammar, and classical influences, which included Horace and Virgil. “It’s competent, it shows occasional flair, and in comparison to his contemporaries, he is at or above their level.”By the time Larnell attended Harvard, he appears to have been well ahead of most of his contemporaries in writing verse in classical languages. At the time, versification was required to get into Harvard, but not required in College studies. Yet this young student from a native village near Taunton, Mass., spent time writing verse not only in Latin, but in Greek and Hebrew as well.Larnell’s poem is a Latin versification of the “Fable of the Fox and the Weasel,” a familiar prose parable from Aesop, the ancient Greek fabulist. Aesop’s tales, simply written but rich in complex moral lessons, were a mainstay for centuries of students learning classical languages. In this story, a fox, thin with hunger, creeps through a crack into a bin filled with grain. But after eating until his belly is full, he no longer can get out. The tale is a testament to how hard it is for the rich to be free of fear and anxiety. “You must return through the narrow hole as skinny as when you entered it,” advises a weasel, since “many people (are) happy in their poverty, and well-supplied.”Judge Samuel Sewell, a Larnell benefactor better known for his role at the Salem Witch Trials two decades earlier, wrote a letter to a friend in London, enclosing a poem that Larnell had written in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew — proof, Sewell said, that educating Native Americans was working. The letter survives, but the tri-lingual poem — “sadly,” said McManus — does not.Larnell’s newly discovered poem is most interesting for what it signifies, said Keeline, a scholar of Latin pedagogy: “that American Indians were trained in exactly the same way as colonial Puritans.”The training in Latin and Greek that Larnell got was the same as that of other colonial schoolboys — and it in turn was the same as that of English schoolboys preparing for Oxford and Cambridge. “People (were) trying to create scholars,” said McManus, “who could do what the ancients did. It’s the long shadow of the Renaissance.”Larnell’s poem comes with a discovery that “humanistic culture survived so late,” he said — right to the eve of the Enlightenment — and that it was foundational to Franklin and his Revolutionary American contemporaries. “These things which seem obscure (today) are really the foundation of their intellectual world.”Around the time of the American Revolution, speeches were still being delivered in the style of Cicero, though no longer in Latin itself, said McManus, a student of what he called “the long shadow of Cicero across the whole world.” That shadow includes the annual speeches delivered in memory of the 1770 Boston Massacre, a tradition that became the rhetorical template of Fourth of July orations. “This (classical) education was basically the education of the Founding Fathers,” he said.Profit in this worldToday, arguments for teaching the classics and the humanities in general seem “phrased in idealistic terms,” said Keeline; arguments against, meanwhile, seem to hinge on their alleged impracticality. But in Larnell’s day, “There was very much a sense these were practical things. You would give a better sermon on Sunday. There really was a sense this would bring you profit in this world.”Latin was also the outward sign of an educated man, said McManus. In Larnell’s era, original Latin verses were given as gifts. At funerals and elsewhere, Latin “was a suitable, prestigious way to honor someone in the Roman style,” he said.Classical languages gave ministers-in-training at places like Harvard “direct access to the Bible,” McManus added, schooled them in rhetoric, and gave them “tools to be a better person, to be a better scholar, and to be a better Christian.” In the New England of 300 years ago, these were not lighthearted considerations, said Keeline. “This was about saving souls. This was eternal life.”Sewell believed in his protégé’s potential for converting Native Americans to Christianity. But when Larnell died, there came “a great frown upon the work of gospelling [cq] the Indians,” the judge noted in his diary, “that all attempts to educate one of their own Nation have prov’d abhortive.”In his day, Larnell commanded respect and attention. Walking beside his casket at Boston’s Granary Burial Ground were the president of Harvard, two fellows of the College, Sewell, and commissioners of the Company for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England. At the funeral too was Joshua Gee, Class of 1717, a Harvard schoolmate whom Larnell had once kicked in a fight (which once got him dismissed from the School for eight months). Today, there is no record of Larnell’s grave, or of a headstone, if there ever had been one.An idea fades It is fair to say that the death of Larnell was likely the death knell for Harvard’s six-decade attempt to educate the native sons of New England. “The original impetus was beginning to fade,” said McManus.It didn’t help that King Philip’s War of several decades before had made Indians more suspect, he said, nor that the Indian College itself — a building near present-day Matthews Hall — had been torn down, nor that benefactors were hard to come by. (Larnell paid no tuition thanks to the Boyle fund, a legacy of Robert Boyle, the founder of modern chemistry.)With the discovery of the Larnell poem, scholars will be “happy another piece of the jigsaw has been put together,” said McManus, and that a perennial footnote is now a full poem and the grist of long essays to come. They will also be happy to see an example of early colonial schoolwork, “a window into the colonial classroom,” said Keeline, “that allows us to marry up the practice with the theory of colonial education.”Meanwhile, readers outside academe will be stunned to be reminded that native students were trained to this level, were taught the same way as their English schoolmates, and that — in the case of Larnell — such erudition could come at such an early age to a person whose first language was neither English nor even an Indo-European language.The teenager from another culture who succeeded as he did at Harvard was to some extent just a measure of that vanished era’s rigorous schoolboy culture. The “grammar grind” — a refinement of training over centuries — was in the end “just practice,” said Keeline. McManus added, “If you wanted to go to college and become a minister, you had to do this.”But both young scholars acknowledged there was something exceptional about Larnell. Barely past his mid-teens, he read, wrote, and spoke Latin and Greek. He read and wrote Hebrew. And he wrote verse in all three. At some level, admitted Keeline, “You should be shocked, a little bit.”last_img read more