Does This Count?

Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti, collects examples of asyndetic, privative adjectives. Here is a possible bilingual example from the Younger Pliny (Epistulae 2.3.8), writing of those who can’t be bothered to go see the orator Isaeus:

Aphilókalon inlitteratum iners ac paene etiam turpe est, non putare tanti cognitionem qua nulla est iucundior, nulla pulchrior, nulla denique humanior.

P. G. Walsh (Oxford World’s Classics, 2006) loses two out of three privatives, and (like Shackleton Bailey in Cicero’s letters) substitutes French for Pliny’s Greek:

To fail to regard as worthwhile an acquaintance which is as pleasant, charming, and civilized as can be, is an attitude which is malappris, uneducated, sluggish, and virtually degrading.

Betty Radice (Penguin, 1963) also loses two out of three privatives (unless you count ‘ignorance’ as well as ‘apathy’) and combines Pliny’s four adjectives into two phrases:

Only a boorish ignorance and a shocking degree of apathy could prevent you from thinking it worth an effort to gain an experience which will prove so enjoyable, civilized and rewarding.

Her Loeb translation (1969) is the same except that it expands the second phrase to “a degree of apathy which is really rather shocking” and adds an Oxford comma after “civilized”.

Too bad Pliny tacks on a fourth, non-privative adjective with an ac. Does that make the whole list non-asyndetic? And would the word be ‘syndetic’?

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