Wednesday, 17 May 2017

"De Mortuis..."

"De mortuis nil nisi bonum."
-Poul Anderson, Murder In Black Letter, ebook, Chapter 2.

We have quoted so much Latin that I thought that another aphorism would be appropriate. This one is particularly appropriate in a detective novel. A man has been killed. A man who had argued with him says, "Speak no ill of the dead..." I don't agree with that. If I called a man dishonest or corrupt before he died, then I will continue to call him it after his death.

Would it be possible to find relevant Latin, Biblical and Shakespearean quotations as headings for every chapter in a novel? In Dante's Purgatory, not having heard of Shakespeare, they illustrate every moral point with a story from the Classics, the Old Testament and the New Testament, respectively. Earlier literature enriches later.

The top image shows Berkeley, the setting of the novel. Our small sf group meets tonight in the Gregson Centre. See second image and here.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

Well, we should be at least reasonably sure a man has been corrupt or dishonest before stigmatizing him for those things. And monsters like serial killers and tyrants like Pol Pot would have earned still harsher descriptions.

And Dante added allusions from both the Classics and the Scriptures to every canto of his DIVINE COMEDY.