I never use my PC on Sundays. I sit before the magic box all day and all evening, six days a week. If I used it on Sunday too, I think I’d become insane. I always recall the poor cabman in Black Beauty who had a seven-day licence, and died of overwork. “I never got my Sundays,” he lamented at the end.
But a very interesting email came in an hour ago as I was off to bed, with some very sound suggestions about how to make and sell the Eusebius book. It’s way too late for me to digest, so I’ll mull it over on Monday. It included a sample page that had just the look that I am aiming for.
However, it also recommended strongly that I print a Greek text, rather like the Loebs. This I have very much wanted to do. But there are obstacles, which I need to find a way around.
The book consists of an epitome, plus catena fragments, plus Latin fragments, plus Syriac fragments. The catena fragments are printed from Angelo Mai, and were reprinted by Migne. This exists in electronic form, so would be simple to include. The Syriac would need to be typed, and I’d have to pay for that. But I have someone in mind who would do it. The Latin, if necessary, I could do myself from Mai.
However, it’s not so simple for the epitome. This was translated from the critical edition by Claudio Zamagni, published a few months ago by Sources Chrétiennes. It would be a bit odd to use Migne’s text instead of that, although I suppose I physically could.
While I don’t believe that Zamagni’s text can be in copyright (although the apparatus and translation certainly can), I don’t want a law suit. In fact I don’t want to do anything that Zamagni wouldn’t like, since I’ve swapped emails with him and know him. So I need to discover who “owns” the text, and find out if I would be allowed to reprint the bare text. As a plus, they should probably have an electronic text available.
I don’t want to use their apparatus; this is not about printing a critical text, but about allowing readers to check interesting points in the translation against the original. Anyone who wants to see how Claudio made his text should use his book. It’s sobering to reflect that Claudio’s dissertation, of which the SC text is but a part, blows the socks off almost any piece of anglophone scholarship that I have ever read. This is a book, remember, from a man just out of university. What a guy!
So I’ve fought off the urge to go to bed, and written to Claudio to ask about these issues. Who owns the text? Can he help? I’ve also written to a French Jesuit scholar whom I know, whom I think is associated with the SC. He may know who I need to talk to, and put in a good word for me.
It’s worth asking. If they are willing for me to use that text, and can provide an electronic text, then that settles it; I will print the original language on facing pages. I’ll commission the transcription of the Syriac, and we’ll do it.
But if it gets all difficult, or they want serious sums of money, then my choices will be to print the Migne text anyway with a disclaimer — rather horrible — or else omit the original languages altogether.
Decisions, decisions! In that situation, I wonder what readers would prefer?