Friday, February 03, 2012



Although I pretend that this blog is nothing more than my private commonplace book and that I write solely mihi et Musis (for myself and the Muses), in fact I'm vain enough to look from time to time at the blog's statistics page, where I'm surprised to learn that hundreds of people read Laudator Temporis Acti every day.

Even more astonishing is the generosity of some readers, who have given me books and engravings, copied book chapters and journal articles on my behalf, sent me souvenirs from their foreign travels, offered me hospitality when I travel, and extended many other kindnesses to me. One generous gentleman paid for my membership in the Boston Athenaeum, allowing me access to scholarly journals, early English books, and much more. This is a great boon, as I have no academic affiliation and no easy access to academic libraries.

Usually I'm able to express my thanks to these patrons and benefactors privately. But there are those who occupy rank number six ("the one who gives anonymously") in Maimonides' eight degrees of charity, and I feel compelled to thank those as well, in the only way I can—publicly.

In yesterday's mail, I received a book from the Loeb Classical Library series, the first volume of Wolfgang de Melo's excellent new edition and translation of Plautus, which I am very glad to have. I searched the packing slip for some clue as to the identity of the donor, but couldn't find one. I also want to take the opportunity to thank the person who sent me R.J. Hollingdale's translation of Lichtenberg's Waste Books last year—I mistakenly thought I had ordered this for myself, and when I realized that it was a gift, I had already discarded the packing slip. These two books will give me hours of pleasure, for which I'm grateful.

This post isn't a disguised plea for charity or donations (the farthest thing from my mind), but it is an expression of heartfelt thanks.

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