Saturday, February 25, 2012


When an editor prepares an edition of somebody else's book, he may provide notes, whether on his own initiative or at the publisher's request. Some are helpful, some not, some provide a handy measurement of what has dropped out of common knowledge since the book first appeared. The work calls for a constant exercise of judgment, and gives casual readers (myself, for example) many chances to cock an eyebrow at the decisions of the hard working scholar. For example, the NYRB edition of Lichtenberg's The Waste Books footnotes Winckelmann, Bohme,  Klopstock, and Herrnhut, none of them that I know household names here; yet also Franklin, Wilkes, and Jena.

The choice of what to note came to mind this afternoon when I flipped to the back of An Essay Concerning Human Understanding for note 4 to Chapter XXVII of Book II, and found
4. Fleming: inhabitant of Flanders
True enough, but it brought to mind a note previously seen, note 13 to Chapter XIV of Book II
13. νυχθήμερα:nuchthemera

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