Friday, November 13, 2009

Stephanus and Plato

I'll let the link explain Stephanus numbers. They're little numbers you find running down the page in Plato (or less helpfully at the top or bottom of each page). They're useful for locating passages among different editions. If you buy or use an edition other than the "Penguin Classics" Christopher Gill translation, be sure the translation you use has these Stephanus numbers. It will be very hard to keep everyone on the same page, so to speak, without them. In particular, be aware that Penguin has a "Great Ideas" edition of the Symposium, also using the Gill translation, but without the Stephanus numbers! I encourage people to bring or even use other translations than the Gill (the old Victorian Jowett, for example, has the most beautiful phrase and clause in the English language) but don't be without Stephanus.


DCSteve1441 said...

"...but don't be without Stephanus."
posted by Tim at 7:55 AM on Nov 13, 2009

Speaking as a Stephanus (albeit with a different spelling), I couldn't agree more! LOL

Seriously, Tim, thanks as always for sharing your erudition.

Cheers, Steve

Tim said...

Walter may have been wondering what I was smoking when I referenced Jowett. I wonder what I was smoking when I misremembered Jowett. The phrase and clause I was thinking of are actually from different translators. First C.J. Rowe's fairly literal translation of 211e: "What then … do we suppose it would be like if someone succeeded in seeing beauty itself, pure, clean, unmixed, and not contaminated with things like human flesh, and colour, and much other mortal nonsense…." Walter Hamilton translates "mortal nonsense" by "perishable rubbish," which to my mind vies with Auden's favorite two-word phrase "cellar door". Michael Joyce more freely translates the entire clause: "freed from the mortal taint that haunts the frailer loveliness of flesh and blood" — which I think, as a clause, is just about perfect!