WENATCHEE, Wash. - It's not a first, but it's the first in a long, long time. Wenatchee Valley College professor Stephen Berard has written and published Capti, a modern novel, entirely in Latin, which he hopes will help reawaken interest in the language.
For most of its history it s a real language, only recently have they decided it s supposed to be passive, said Berard.
For Gabriel Garza, who's learning to speak it, writing a novel in it absolutely makes sense.
It seems central to learning if you want to be a truly educated person Latin is sine qua non ... without which... nothing.
It hasn t happened much lately. According to Berard and his publicist, not since 1754.
Yeah so it s been a while. There's been a lot written in Latin in that time but not novels, he said.
It s patterned after the works of E.T.A. Hoffmann, who wrote The Nutcracker, and the main character is a Seattle ballet dancer and actor named Vudius, or Woody.
Woody drifts through the Seattle nightclub scene and fringe art subculture.
The hyper-realist fantasy adventure also takes him to Hollywood. Berard's point, themes, places, characters are up-to-date, not out-of-date.
The core is it s in Latin and I want them to think of Latin as a literary language that can deal with modern society and modern topics, said Berard.
And Capti is just the beginning. Berard is already deep into his second novel and plans an elaborately interconnected seven book series - a life's work, at least.
Let s say 4 years for each one so that four times six is 24, so something like that... maybe about a quarter of a century, he said with a laugh.
And as he labors on, spreading the Latin word on campus and beyond, hopes writing in the language he loves will give his work permanence far beyond plain old changeable English.
In three to 500 hundred years you can barely understand what the person wrote.. with Latin I can pick up something that was written yesterday, a hundred years ago, a thousand, two-thousand years ago, it s the same language! he said.