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HUMANn'res 403 Carruthers to stay clear of the S.P.Q.R. His Latin poems are the weakest and least successful portion of his work, and without exception compare unfavourably with published versions such as Crossley's of "You are old, Father William" in Dublin Translations, ed. R. Y. Tyrrell, 1882, and H. C. F. Mason's of "Speak roughly to your little boy" in Compositions and Translations, 1903. It is precisely the racy fluency which forms such a striking characteristic of nOnsense verse that is most lacking in Carruthers' renderings. The mixture of quantitative and accentual metres tactlessly brings face to face the opposing Muses of Ovid and the Archpoet. Better, had he limited himself to the latter, for he is not, I suspect, an old hand at Latin verse composition, and the unsober choreography of longs and shorts which makes up Te insuper ae1lO grandem postibi sic adulescens scarcely merits description as a hexameter. Professor Carruthers, the book-jacket informs us, undertook his tranSlation as a challenge and an entertainment. In respect of the former aim, his success is limited, creditable, to be sure, considering the enormous difficulties, but less, even so, than might have been attained; and Mr. George Strugnell of Victoria, Australia, whose incomplete version is mentioned by Warren Weaver (p. 65), might well fancy that he could have done better. But that the elIort recreated for the translator, and is likely to recreate for those who have a little Latin, the magic of Alice's afternoon in wonderland, need not seriously be doubted. And, after all, provided that a translator achieves that, Carrollians at least will estimate his performance in the same generous spirit in which the Dodo announced the results of the Caucus-Race: "E1lerybody has won, and all must have prizes." (G. P. GOOLD) PHILOSOPHY J. M. Rist's Eros and Psyche: Studies in Plato, Plotinus, and Origen ( University of Toronto Press, pp. xii, 238. $6.95) is a very welcome addition to the excessively small number of works in English which deal seriously and intelligently with the history of Platonism; and it makes one or two notable contributions to our understanding of Plato himself_ In it the author sets out to examine some very important themes in the writings of Plato, Eros, the Forms and the Good, and Virtue and Knowledge , and to see what Neoplatonists (above all the greatest of them, Plotinus) and Christian Platonists (especially one of the greatest of them, Origen) made of what they found on these topics in the Platonic 404 LETTERS IN CANADA: 1964 Dialogues. Rist starts from the conviction (which the present reviewer shares) that Plato's thought is by no means systematic, and contains within itself a number of unresolved divergences on the most important topics- the Good, the nature of love, the life of virtue: and that the existence of these unresolved divergences is one of the main reasons why the study of Plato has been always so philosophically fruitful. The most un-Platonic characteristic, Rist rightly thinks, of later Platonist sytems is precisely that they are systems, and systems which claim to contain the whole of Plato's thought. In other ways, he holds (again, it seems to the present reviewer, rightly) that the later Platonists are a good deal closer to Plato than is sometimes supposed, at least in the sense that they are enlarging or developing ideas which are quite naturally and legitimately suggested by certain passages to the minds of the readers of the Dialogues, even if there are others elsewhere, perhaps neglected by the Neoplatonists, which suggest something different . Part I, the longest of the three into which the book is divided, is devoted mainly to the theme of Eros in Plato and Plotinus. This is probably the best discussion of this extremely important subject yet available: the present reviewer is much gratified by the (by no means always uncritical) attention paid in it to some views of his own, and can find little, if anything, with which to disagree. Rist shows solid reasons for objecting to the too sharp antithesis drawn by Nygren and others between Platonic Eros and Christian Agape. Part II is devoted to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 403-411
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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