CRB: Code of the gentleman

We continue our Christmas extravaganza previewing the Fall issue of the Claremont Review of Books through Friday. If you lean conservative and love to read about history, politics, economics, literature, culture and current events, the CRB has earned your attention. Subscriptions are available here for $19.95 (including immediate online access).

Students of Winston Churchill know that Aristotle played a key role in his self-education. Churchill’s search for “a concise compendious outline of Ethics” concluded with his mid-life reading of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. Who are we to argue with the great statesman? We choose to follow his example. And luckily for us, the recent translation by Robert D. Bartlett and Susan D. Collins of this classic is both readable and faithful to the original. Professor Diana Schaub writes in the new issue of the CRB that the translators have done a fine job making palatable the dry “chopped hay” of the original Greek (so judged noted food critic and poet Thomas Grey).

Profesor Schaub’s review is much more than a simple endorsement. She discourses on the difficulty of translation and the proper rendering of key terms like magnanimity and to kalon, while providing an insightful comparison with Joe Sachs’s disarmingly idiosyncratic translation, all enlivened by learning lightly worn. I absolutely love Schaub’s review. Read it for a glimpse of the true, the beautiful, and the good things to be found in Aristotle’s Ethics. Then turn to the source. The Bartlett and Collins translation would be a prudent choice.

Tomorrow: A look back at the work of the late, great James Q. Wilson.