Saturday, 13 February 2016

An Appropriate Epitaph?

Since I have mentioned Latin a few times, how does this grab anyone as a Latin epitaph for Poul Anderson: Multa docuit multos, "He taught much to many"?

First, Anderson's many novels and short stories have been read by many people.

Secondly, to teach is not only to impart information but also to introduce issues and to inspire inquiries.

Anderson's works:

impart information on cosmology, planetology, mythology, technology and history;

address fundamental issues about humanity and society;

encourage their readers to consider both the information and the issues and therefore to inquire further.

That last part is down to us but Anderson has certainly given a lead. This is an epitaph that applies to some others - I wrote it in the memorial book at the funeral of Ninian Smart - but certainly not to all others! How many of our acquaintances teach us anything? And how many writers of popular fiction have taught their readers on anything like the scale of Poul Anderson?

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I like and agree with the Latin epitaph and its English translation you have proposed for Poul Anderson.

You wrote and I agree with: "...readers to consider both the information and the issues and therefore to inquire further" as seen in the works of Anderson. However, I would have added that Anderson also proposed ANSWERS to these questions that he believed were true and valid. And that he hoped readers would seriously consider the answers he advocated.

And it is certainly true that most of us, myself included, are not in the least teachers. Most of us are unreflecting go along to get along types.