Fragments (Penguin Classics) (English and Greek Edition)
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Fragments of wisdom from the ancient world
In the sixth century b.c.-twenty-five hundred years before Einstein-Heraclitus of Ephesus declared that energy is the essence of matter, that everything becomes energy in flux, in relativity. His great book, On Nature, the world's first coherent philosophical treatise and touchstone for Plato, Aristotle, and Marcus Aurelius, has long been lost to history-but its surviving fragments have for thousands of years tantalized our greatest thinkers, from Montaigne to Nietzsche, Heidegger to Jung. Now, acclaimed poet Brooks Haxton presents a powerful free-verse translation of all 130 surviving fragments of the teachings of Heraclitus, with the ancient Greek originals beautifully reproduced en face.
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insights that stir the mind to awakened observation and deepened reflection. We are still riddling out these “fragments” generation after generation in ever-new, and necessary, fresh translations. Translations age, even though the original texts do not. In fact, classic texts are rejuvenated by virtue of fresh translation. If all things flow, then each translation must be different from every other one, yet still be the same, much as Heraclitus’s river. Or, to say it otherwise, the sun is new
Foreword: “I am as I am not” Because archetypal modes of thought transcend time and place, the insights of Heraclitus are strikingly postmodern. Although conceived five hundred years before our era in the Greek city of Ephesus, his poetic aphorisms show a deconstructive mind at work. The life of thought does not necessarily progress, for, as he says, “Any day stands equal to the rest” (120). Since moving forward and moving back are one and the same (69), the latest postmodern thinking
English version, confident that those misled by my approach can easily turn to the excellent scholarship available. My translation uses free verse to suggest the poetic ring of the original prose, which deserves to be called poetry as much as the metrical writings of thinkers like Empedocles and Parmenides. Aside from this general procedure, I have stayed close to literal paraphrase, wherever this seemed adequate, and where I have deviated, I have tried to explain my thinking in the notes at the
important to the personifying logic of this and many other fragments. 31. Jones’s literal translation of this fragment is: “If there were no sun, there would be night, in spite of the other stars.” Because the sense of the Greek seems incomplete, I introduce the questions into my translation, to suggest possible connections with the logic of reversal in fragments 35, 36, and elsewhere. 35. This rough paraphrase introduces the mention of gods and monsters to clarify the distinction between the
meanings: silence, calm, lulling, healing. Bibliography The following books contain translations into English or commentary in English or both. Burnet, John. Early Greek Philosophy (London, 1892). Davenport, Guy. Herakelitos and Diogenes (Bolinas, 1979). Jones, H. W. S. “Heraclitus on the Universe,” in Volume IV of the Works of Hippocrates (Loeb Classical Library, 1931). Kahn, Charles H. Art and Thought of Heraclitus (Cam-bridge, 1979). Kirk, G. S. Heraclitus, the Cosmic Fragments