From my diary

The leaves are falling, the dark days are beginning, the pre-Christmas rush at work is underway, and winter colds are starting to appear.  I’ve been unable to progress any of my projects.  Indeed I am only able to blog today because of a cold which has prevented me working, and, of course, from doing much else.  So there is little news.

I have a new commission out there, for a translation of the Vita Compilata of St Nicholas of Myra.  I don’t know that it will be ready for Christmas, but we’ll see.  This is one of the early lives of the Saint, and probably dates to the 9-10th century, prior to the mass revision of Greek Lives undertaken by Simon Metaphrastes.

These documents are not all that interesting historically, but they are the earliest form of the legends of St Nicholas.  It seems extraordinary to me, in a world filled with universities and Greek language courses, that the materials for a figure like Santa should be left to little old me to translate.  But so it is.

I expect to get at least a couple of weeks off at Christmas, so I will be able to do more work on Eutychius then.

A small pile of books is growing on the side here, of books to be chopped up and fed through the scanner.  They are all volumes which will be of more use in electronic form than in paper form.  Converting them takes relatively little time; but this I have not had.

I’ve also been disposing of novels that I no longer feel any urge to reread.  My book collection is slimming down for the first time in years.  I read quite a lot of trashy fantasy/science fiction novels.  I have found that purchasing these on Kindle and reading them in the evening on my smartphone in the hotel works quite well.  It also reduces the amount of storage space.  There are quite a lot of kindle-only space operas, thankfully.  So I think that, if even I am doing it, probably there is a general shift going on, away from paper fiction.   That said, I find that I feel considerably less regard for a kindle book than I do for a volume in paper form.

We often hear that stuff put online never goes away.  This is not actually true, however.  Even do not preserve everything.  This weekend I discovered that an alumni magazine for York University had vanished, containing an article of considerable importance to me.  Fortunately I had kept a copy of the PDF; and I have today uploaded it to my own site.  It will be most interesting to see whether Google can find it there, and if so, how quickly.


12 thoughts on “From my diary

  1. Even do not preserve everything! I always feared that so I continually make copy of a huge amount of books that I ‘ll never be able to read… Anyway thank you for the useful information

  2. Anything beyond the raw html is doubtful … images, pdfs … you just don’t know for sure. Modern Javascript-driven single-page sites must be unarchiveable.

  3. Pull the spine off, separate into sections about 5mm thick, then use a guillotine to trim off the spine. Then stick then through a scanner sheet feeder.

  4. In what I suppose to be the transition from comparatively more people who could read Greek well (outside Greece) – though I don’t know about post-Classical Greek (so to call it) – to comparatively fewer, it does seem astonishing that things about someone so famous, and not least during the past two centuries, as St. Nicholas should have escaped translation, and wide distribution.

    Many thanks for keeping at it for us!

  5. Roger I was wondering if you could estimate how much material from Patrologia Graeca and Latina has been translated into English? Do you think we will ever have all of it translated? Thanks.

Leave a Reply