The short video accompanying this entry is but a single piece of evidence among an unquantifiable number of paeans to professors of classics and—more importantly— to the classics themselves. War has never hindered the Humanities spread. One only need remember Bernard Knox and his playing at the sortes Vergilianae during World War II.
But this current example of a teacher's impression on a former student and literature's power to motivate a soldier during his “peregrinations” deserve a wider audience.
The University of Michigan has artfully transferred the letter into a short audio journey for a Translating Homer online exhibit.
Other questions linger in Captain's Wheeler's mannered prose: what classics did not survive the “flames of gentleman's library?” Who, indeed, was this gentleman?
The books Captain Wheeler found, by the way, still reside in the University of Michigan Library's Special Collections.