Several weeks ago I renewed a long-dormant subscription to the Times Literary Supplement. Big mistake. I love it and like most of the things I love it is too time-consuming. I have to be careful. I was planning to write my blog much earlier this evening but TLS got in the way. It is at once humbling and enriching. I am ashamed of my lack of knowledge in some fields but even in my own area of so-called expertise, there is so much to learn. I have always felt that if I could just learn one more thing - maybe two more - that I would be able to put it all together and understand everything. But It doesn't work that way. I'm like that man in Tolstoy's story, "How Much Land Does a Man Need?" I just keep on going and going, too greedy to stop.
Well, but this doesn't make me unhappy. I enjoy learning. I keep making notes to myself and I try to limit my purchases. I do try. Now, tonight for example, I am sooo tempted by A Dictionary of Classical Greek Quotations, ed. Marinos Yeroulanos (736 pp. I.B. Tauris, 35 pounds Sterling = about 58 dollars Canadian - oh dear). It has more than 7500 entries, quotations by logicians, elegists and orators, from Adamantius and Aelian to Zonas and Zopyrus, plus an appendix of foreign appreciations of Greece. The review offers a number of neat quotations, including some recommended to President Trump ("Restrain your tongue.")
Under the headline for this review by Peter Stouthard, "Possession for all time" is a cautionary description that I will heed: "A compendious, possibly purposeless dictionary". I guess. Sigh. It isn't easy. As Stobaeus (early fifth century A.D.) said, "there is much wisdom to be found in few words". Actually, he was quoting someone else. We all do it.