Getting More Than I Paid For

Elaine Fantham’s new translation of Seneca: Selected Letters (Oxford World Classics, 2010) is described on the back cover as “the largest selection of Seneca’s letters currently available” (in translation, that is). The Note on the Text (xxxv-xxxvi) is more specific: “The present selection of 80 letters comprises nearly two-thirds of the collection”. It goes on to list 80 letters, book by book. However, if I have counted correctly, one of those listed (105) is not included in the translation, while eight more (49, 59, 70, 75, 80, 103, 112, and 115) are translated but not listed. So “nearly two-thirds” should be “more than two-thirds” (87 of 124).

I have updated my List of Commentaries on the Epistulae Morales to include Fantham’s selection. Unlike Inwood’s, her brief end-notes do not constitute anything like a commentary, so I have put her selection in a separate column. It is interesting to see which letters get the most, and least, attention. If my data are accurate, there are still 15 wallflowers waiting for some scholarly affection: 13, 17, 20, 30, 32, 45, 69, 74, 81, 89, 98, 102, 105, 109, and 111.

As always, I will be very glad to hear of any corrections or additions to my list. As my bibliography shows, a trickle of commentaries and other works has become a torrent, so I have probably missed something. Since the earliest selection (Summers) was first published in 1910, I have also renamed the page ‘One Hundred Years of Commentaries on Seneca’s Epistulae Morales‘.

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