Picture of author.

Frederic M. Wheelock (1902–1987)

Author of Wheelock's Latin

12 Works 5,048 Members 13 Reviews 1 Favorited

About the Author

Works by Frederic M. Wheelock

Tagged

Common Knowledge

Birthdate
1902-09-19
Date of death
1987-10-29
Gender
male
Nationality
USA
Birthplace
Lawrence, Massachusetts, USA
Place of death
Kent, Connecticut, USA
Education
Harvard University
Occupations
professor (Latin)
Short biography
Dr. Frederic M. Wheelock, a retired classics professor who had taught at Brooklyn College and City College, died of a heart attack on Oct. 29 at Sharon (Conn.) Hospital. He was 85 years old and lived in Kent, Conn.

Dr. Wheelock taught at the two colleges from 1938 to 1952, when he moved to Cazenovia Junior College in Cazenovia, N.Y., then to the Darrow School in New Lebanon, N.Y., and finally to the University of Toledo. He was the author of several books on Latin, the most recent of which was ''Quintilian As Educator.''

He was born in Lawrence, Mass., and graduated cum laude in 1925 from Harvard University, where he later earned master's and doctorate degrees.

From the NY Times Obituary.

Members

Reviews

My review of the 6th edition of Wheelock's was ambivalently positive and I would say my feelings about the 7th are cautiously joyous.

This textbook was designed so that, in a sense, any teacher can teach Latin. It's comprehensive, straightforward, and treats the language rather like a maths textbook, with the formulas, the practice equations, and the answer key. For schools just wanting to teach the language and get the students through the exam, great. But, paradoxically, to instill a love of Latin using this method requires not just any teacher, but a passionate and well-read teacher. For this reason, I will probably always prefer the Cambridge Course with its broader emphasis on history and culture, and its narrative-based lesson style.

But those complaints are clearly personal biases, and shouldn't be taken too seriously! This is a wonderfully comprehensive first-year coursebook. The inclusion of "real" Latin from so early in the course has a beneficial impact. There are now five other books in the series that serve as adjacent texts - the student workbook, the "38 Latin Stories" (simple tales for in-class dissection), "Scribblers, Sculptors and Scribes" (providing real Latin from a variety of sources keyed to the chapters here), Grote's Guide (for students to solve thorny problems), and the Reader (for students who have completed the course) - and you can't go wrong. And the light-heartedness evident throughout (even if it's in a "dad joke" kind of way) is appreciated.

I will note that this still isn't a textbook for self-learning. Sure, you can pick up everything using this (especially if you buy the teacher's answer key from the publisher) but you'll lose it again without a classroom setting for constant drills and the enjoyment of Roman culture that comes with that. Caveat emptor, is all I'm saying!

A vibrant refresh of a classic textbook.
… (more)
 
Flagged
therebelprince | 7 other reviews | Oct 24, 2023 |
For generations of American students, "Wheelock's" is the Latin textbook they remember from their schoolyard days. And indeed, if you had a charismatic teacher who could convey his/her love of the language, these 40 chapters contain almost everything you'd need to know about the language. But if your teacher is mediocre, your extracurricular syllabus is annoying, or if you're learning on your own... you'll need a bit of backup.

The more I use Wheelock's, the more I acknowledge that it's a damn thorough textbook. If you read each chapter in detail, and do all the exercises (both in the chapter, in the supplements, and preferably in the additional Exercise Book) you should have a thorough grounding of how to use Latin. The book features edited excerpts from real Roman texts in each chapter, so you also get a sense of the variety of usage when the language is actually placed in context.

If there are problems, they're simply that this isn't the most innovative of texts. It's a top-down approach, itemising a few grammatical concepts each chapter and then parading examples in front of you. The examples use the same nouns over and over again, which helps to cement your focus on the grammatical item du jour, but makes things a little repetitive for sure. It's rote learning (which, don't mistake me, is necessary for an inflected language like Latin) but it relies so much on a passionate teacher. This is probably why many kids come out of school with dreary memories of their Latin classroom!

I highly recommend the enjoyable, narrative-based Cambridge Latin Course (which, to my mind, introduces the concepts in a more logical sequence) or - if you're an adult learner on your own - Reading Latin, by Peter V. Jones, which focuses on translation. They're both far more immersive in both Roman culture and the language, and will be a lot more fun. At the same time, I've finally committed to doing the Wheelock, and I must admit it works well. I'd probably recommend a combination of any 2 of the above. If you're going with the Wheelock, I recommend finding Dale Grote's companion book, or even his lectures which can sometimes be found on line. He goes through all of the supplementary questions and details how the language works. It's a thoroughly engaging way to approach Wheelock. On your own, you may have the concepts down, but it's a heady tome that offers little in the way of mental stimulation.

I realise this is an ambiguous review (particularly when I've gone with 4-stars!). I guess in closing: Wheelock's is a textbook best as a support to either the Cambridge or Reading Latin. At the same time, its generous use of real Latin, combined with 40 chapters of thorough material, means that a seriously committed student will take a lot away from it. It's a shame so many kids these days are taught by underwhelmed literature teachers or dull curricula from the '70s!
… (more)
 
Flagged
therebelprince | 7 other reviews | Oct 24, 2023 |
I relied upon this book a great deal when contemplating language and stuff back in 1998. I didn't actually learn any Latin from it; my interest was in the development of European language. Lots of interesting notes!
 
Flagged
Kim.Sasso | 7 other reviews | Aug 27, 2023 |
 
Flagged
SrMaryLea | Aug 22, 2023 |

You May Also Like

Associated Authors

Statistics

Works
12
Members
5,048
Popularity
#4,958
Rating
4.1
Reviews
13
ISBNs
20
Languages
2
Favorited
1

Charts & Graphs