JJElbert Level 03
  • from NW Florida
  • Member since May 28th 2019
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Posts by JJElbert


    I think the limit "boundary-stone" idea and the limit "end/purpose" idea are not as far apart as might seem.

    Lucretius does use the exact phrase "deep-set boundary stone" (alte terminus haerens, I think) in Book I.

    There's something to all of this, but I haven't been able to crack it. I've written here before about the English and Colonial practice of Beating the Bounds. The ritual is thought to have had a Roman origin.

    So a boundary stone is a definer of limits; but it is also (or was) the subject of ceremony and ritual, a focal point of collective memory, something agreed upon and quite literally "settled"...

    I don't know. It's uncanny how often the words 'borders' and 'boundaries' and 'limits' come up in Lucretius. But I don't have a satisfactory resolution.


    Looks like our resident poet JJElbert must be taking a sabbatical!

    Don't go putting all my stuff in the yard just yet ^^

    Don, I see you're getting well-acquainted with the particular difficulties of short lines! Let me sit with it a bit, I'll try to circle back.

    It won't let me upload a .tex file directly, and in any case I think you'd need to have a TeX distro installed to even open it. But here's a screenshot of the working GUI.

    Just in case it matters, I'm using TeXWorks which downloads as part of the TeXLive bundle. I think it's the most widely used; I'm using it because the Beginner's Guide to LaTeX suggests it.

    Here's a rough idea of what's going on there;

    Everything above \begin{document} is referred to as preamble. The preamble is where you set parameters for the entire document--document class, paper size and orientation, font, text size, margin width, etc. This is also where you tell it which extra packages to use. if you don't set parameters, it defaults to LaTeX's standard.

    You can add commands to the preamble at any time. You can be a hundred pages into a document, and decide to change the margin width for the whole thing; it's one command in the preamble.

    In the body of the text starting with \begin{document}, I put together a quick title and jumped right into glossing. The \maketitle command is looking for Title, Author, and Date. I used the \date{Liber Primus} command as a workaround to get "Liber Primus" into the title. There's probably a more elegant solution--I just don't know enough about LaTeX!

    In the preamble I used the command \usepackage{expex}. Everything I'm doing after \maketitle relies on this package. It breaks the gloss into lines with their own styles; Gloss A, (gla), which I've set using boldface, and gloss B (glb), which I've set to a smaller text size. There is a way to do this to where it formats all of the glosses in the document the way you want, but I haven't been able to get that working.

    You'll notice it's highly repetitive. Actually for each line of Latin text I can simply copy and paste the following into the text editor;





    And then fill in line A with Latin and Line B with English.

    If it requires more than one English word to gloss a Latin word, as it frequently does, put all of the English words for that word into curly braces "{}"; that's how expex keeps everything lined up properly. And at the end of every line A or B, put in two forward slashes to signify a line break.

    At the bottom of the PDF I have a full page solid line. I wanted to know how to do that in LaTeX, so I googled it. I found the answer on stackexchange in about 15 seconds. the command is \hrule.

    To keep things running smoothly, make sure every curly brace "{" has its correspondent "}", and every \begin has its \end.

    I am slowly (ever so slowly) getting the hang of LaTeX. I've attached two files; the first ("Untitled4.pdf") is one that I've already uploaded in this thread. It was my first attempt at the text using LibreOffice.

    The second is my first attempt using LaTeX. I think you'll agree the second looks better. Now, hypothetically that is about how much text would appear on each page--and below the solid line would be the dictionary entry for each word and other textual notes.

    If thy mute verse is evermore to speak,

    Then I must learn its Latin, and some Greek.


    The last two lines of a Shakesperian sonnet...if I ever write the sonnet!

    Let me also add;

    I realize that using a mark-up language rather than, say, Google Docs, will impose a barrier to collaboration because most people won't want to bother learning the process. I don't blame them!

    But you can still help me! As I get things moving, I will post the PDF's of my progress. At that stage, especially early on, I will need as much feedback and proofreading as I can get!

    I've been banging my head against the problem of typesetting the Interlinear Edition of DRN, and this is where I'm at right now.

    In another thread, I slightly explored and we discussed some of the options for typesetting the text. I mentioned the option of using tables in Microsoft Office/LibreOffice to keep things lined up. This works, but not elegantly.

    I've since been exploring the TeX (pronounced "tek") family of typesetting Mark-Up languages. TeX works by using bits of code interspersed with the text to take care of the formatting, and it can do some pretty incredible stuff. The most common use is in academia, where it is used to typeset documents with complex mathematical formulae; difficult or impossible to format properly in Word, but fairly straightforward in a mark-up language once you learn the commands.

    The software is community-supported and open source, and the original software has been improved by the creation of "macros" to add functionality. LaTex (Lay-tek) is a collection of such macros, and is the most widely used version of the TeX language.

    LaTex itself has been further improved by more third party macros. These macros are collected into "packages", which are loaded for use by a command at the beginning of the document being prepared.

    ExPeX (EkPek? EcksPek?) is one such package, designed specifically by and for linguists in order to solve the problem of formatting interlinear text. I'm currently planning to go all in on LaTeX with ExPeX as the solution to my own problem.

    The trouble with open source software is usually getting it up and running. In the case of TeX/LaTeX, one needs an editor/compiler to actually use the software. Any given editor/compiler is referred to as a "distribution". In theory, when you download and install any LaTeX distribution it will come pre-installed with all of the core LaTeX macros. Other macros can be had by downloading packages through the distribution's GUI.

    I'm going to use LaTeX as the mark-up language. I'm going to use the ExPeX package to handle interlinear glosses. What I haven't figured out yet is which distribution I'm going to use. My early efforts have been in TeX Studio, known for being user friendly. I won't say I haven't been having problems, but I am gradually learning.

    I have book coming in the mail on Monday to help me learn.

    There is another option; a website called Overleaf specializes in LaTeX collaboration. Think of it as a cloud-based distribution. There is, however, a small monthly fee.

    When I learn more, I'll post it here!


    And it's not just people and places: at some point we can look at who we, ourselves, used to be and wonder where we went.

    In a way it does feel almost like a kind of small death, presaging the time when the world truly will move on entirely without us. It is useful and instructive to reflect on such things, but also to remember that we are "invited to the dance" for a while longer yet.

    Visiting my hometown after a few years away has got me in a reflective mood. It's been wonderful to catch up with friends, stop by and gab (gossip, more like) with my old neighbor, see the family and the sights. But the emotions are frankly more mixed than I was prepared for.

    There is the restaurant where I worked once–to all appearances unchanged, and yet the faces and voices are strange to me. All those long nights etched in memory, all those people, coworkers and even friends, all of it so all-consuming once, and now all gone. Just a strange, uncanny husk of memories remaining.

    A number of my friends have likewise moved away, and, of course, everyone has in some way moved on.

    A week from now I'll be back in Florida. I'll be busy at work, happy to settle in to my routine again, and yet aware on some level that when it comes to my hometown I can never "go back".

    Epicurean philosophy gives friendship a place of honor among pleasures. My trip home has me thinking that I want to be more intentional about this going forward. I just don't want to take the people in my life for granted–because life goes by quickly, and leaves very little that lasts.

    It's an odd feeling; I can put it no more plainly than that. It's just an odd feeling.

    I tend to agree with an Amazon reviewer who found some of Stallings' choices distracting. Personally the most jarring thing for me was the way she referenced famous lines by prominent English poets. This is a very natural thing to do, but somehow the anachronism doesn't play well for me. Her effort at long lines is admirable and quite rare in English. Whitman proved that they can be made to work in this language, but they are unusually difficult to write–and that's for hexameter. I've never even tried heptameter.

    I love Rolfe Humphries' translation, in spite of his liberties, and Charlton Griffin has become the voice of Lucretius in English for me. His delivery has a sticking power and many of the lines from that audiobook occur to me as I go through life.

    For a sample of Watson's prose, here is a line from his erstwhile suicide note;


    I have killed my wife in a fit of rage to which she provoked me.

    Surpassingly straightforward and direct!

    By the by, he survived the attempt–stood trial–pleaded insanity–and had his sentence reduced from execution to life imprisonment. Watson was a Clergyman of the Church of England.


    But the reason I make this post is directed at Joshua: I still don't have a feel for whose translation I really think is "most literal."

    You raise an excellent point here. I recall that in the 1743 edition there are strange additions to the text, or cases where something perhaps implied in the Latin is made explicit in the English. An early example is in the Hymn to Venus:


    For when the buxom Spring leads on the year, and genial gales of western winds blow fresh, unlock’d from Winter’s cold [...]

    None of those three underlined words can be justified by the Latin. The West Wind (aura Favoni) is indeed described as "free", or "unlock'd", or "unbarred" (reserata), but it is only implied that what Spring has "reserated" Favionius from is Winter's clutches.

    And yes, reserated is–apparently–a word!