From my diary

I’ve been working away at Bianca-Jeanette Schröder’s Titel und Text for what seems like forever.  It’s an excellent book on chapter titles, tables of contents, and the like; but if your German is as limited as mine, it can take a while to get anywhere.

I’ve actually been translating lengthy sections of the book, in order to read it.  Over the weekend I realised that, if I continued, I would finish the remaining 40 pages sometime in September.  And I would hope to be back among the wage-earners before then!

So I decided to deal with that last 40 pages differently.  I took each page in turn, copied it into Google Translate, and hit enter.  Then I selected the translation, ragged as it was, and pasted it into a Word document.  Then I hit Ctrl-Enter, to throw a new page, and repeated.  At the end of this I had a Word document of 40 pages.  I already had the 40 pages of German in a photocopy, two pages per sheet.

This morning I sat down in front of the two piles, German and Google-English, and picked up a ballpoint pen.  At the foot of each page of ‘English’, I wrote a few bullet-points of what the page said.  Then I went on to the next.

Several hours later, I have gone through the whole 40 pages, and now have notes on the lot.  I feel a considerable sense of relief, I can tell you.  At least there is a prospect of getting my life back!

There is a long appendix in the book which I did translate, containing lots of quotes from ancient authors in the original.  I need to post this online, but with the quotes translated.  I have been gathering translations, so it may soon be possible to do in a reasonable time.

What I also now need to do is to condense all that I learned from Schröder, and make sure that I know what is being said.  I can already seen points at which I don’t agree with her thesis; points where she asserts something which might be so, but equally might not.  It is a fine book; but it is not the last word on the subject.

I’ve also spent time with Aelian the Tactician, a very obscure military writer whose work is important for the topic of chapter titles and tables of contents.  Alphonse Dain wrote a monograph on the transmission of his work, and I read long sections of it this morning.  (Lucky for me that French is a language that I am comfortable with!)

In the mean time I have commissioned a translation of the second Christmas homily of Chrysostom — probably pseudonymous, but historically interesting –, and the translation of Eusebius’ Commentary on Luke continues to progress.  It’s all go here.

One day I shall come up for air!


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