Monday, February 20, 2012

Is this a Rhetorical Question⸮ - Unpublished Selections Explained, Med. VI.56

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Meditation VI.56 - Is this a Rhetorical Question⸮ - Translated by George Long and rewritten by Russell McNeil

How many together with whom I came into the world are already gone out of it⸮(1),(2)

Explanation

(1) Most of us live a delusional existence unwilling to face the plain and chilling fact that our moment here is indescribably brief. We have but an instant to experience what we are designed to do.

(2) Although rarely used, I have rewritten Marcus' rhetorical question using English Printer Henry Denham's (fl. 1556-1590) rhetorical or percontation point (⸮). The symbol (U+2E2E in Unicode) is the reverse of a standard question mark. George Long uses a period as punctuation in the original translation - which is a valid - but an uncommon way of expressing a rhetorical question in print. The percontation point was invented by Denhem in the 1580s, and is sometimes used as an "irony mark." The device has been used very rarely since the 1600s but feels suitable here.

Russell McNeil, PhD, is the author of The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius: Selections Annotated and Explained by Skylight Paths Publishing. The unpublished selections presented in this Blog are provided as supplemental material to the published selections which are annotated and explained in the book. The published selections are referenced in this Blog by page number and section.

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