Thursday, April 19, 2007



These are miscellaneous notes to myself on solitude.

A Greek word for "loner" is μονότροπος (monótropos). Liddell & Scott s.v.:
living alone, solitary, νεανίας E.Andr.281 (lyr.), cf. LXX Ps.67(68).6: title of plays by Phrynichus, Anaxilas, and Ophelio; ἄφιλοι καὶ ἄμικτοι καὶ μ. Plu.2.479c; μ. βίος Phld.Ir.p.49 W., Ph.1.551, Plu. Pel.3; μ. λῃστής J.BJ2.21.1; μ. ζῷα Gal.UP1.2.
J.M. Edmonds translated a fragment from Phrynicus' play Monotropos as follows (accurate despite the rhymes):
I'm called the Solitary, and the life
I lead is Timon's, without mate or wife,
Sour-visaged, quick to anger, ill to meet,
Averse to talk, wise in my own conceit.
Persius 4.52: tecum habita (live with yourself). I haven't seen Pierre Courcelle, "Habitare secum selon Perse et selon Grégoire le Grand," Revue des études anciennes 69 (1967) 266-279.

Seneca, Letters to Lucilius 105.6: nihil tamen aeque proderit quam quiescere et minimum cum aliis loqui, plurimum secum (nothing will be so advantageous as to keep still and speak very little with others, very much with oneself).

Montaigne 1.39 (On Solitude, tr. E.J. Trechmann):
We must reserve a little back-shop, all our own, entirely free, wherein to establish our true liberty and principal retreat and solitude. In this retreat we should keep up our ordinary converse with ourselves, and so private, that no acquaintance or outside communication may find a place there.
Rousseau, Emile, Book I (tr. Barbara Foxley):
Men are not made to be crowded together in ant-hills, but scattered over the earth to till it. The more they are massed together, the more corrupt they become. Disease and vice are the sure results of over-crowded cities. Of all creatures, man is the least fitted to live in herds. Huddled together like sheep, men would very soon die. Man's breath is fatal to his fellows. This is literally as well as figuratively true.

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