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  1. May 2021
    1. With some continued clever searching today along with some help from an expert in Elizabethan English, I've found an online version of Robert Copland's (poor) translation from the French, some notes, and a few resources for assisting in reading it for those who need the help.

      The text:

      This is a free text transcription and will be easier to read than the original black-letter Elizabethan English version.

      For those without the background in Elizabethan English, here are a few tips/hints:

      For the more obscure/non-obvious words:

      Finally, keep in mind that the letter "y" can often be a printer's substitution for the English thorn character) Þ, so you'll often see the abbreviations for "the" and as an abbreviation for "that".

      Copland's original English, first printing of Ravenna can be accessed electronically through a paid Proquest account at most universities. It is listed as STC 24112 if you have access to a firewall-free site that lets you look at books on Early English Books Online (EEBO). A photocopy can be obtained through EEBO reprints on Amazon. Unless you've got some reasonable experience with Elizabethan black-latter typography, expect this version to be hard to read. It isn't annotated or modernized.

      @ehcolston I'm curious to hear what the Wilson/Pena text looks like. I'm guessing it's not scholarly. I think Wilson is a recent college grad and is/was a publishing intern at a company in the LA Area. I'm not sure of Pena's background. I suspect it may be a version of the transcribed text I've linked with a modest updating of the middle English which they've self-published on Amazon.

      Of course, given the multiple translations here, if anyone is aware of a more solid translation of the original Latin text into English, do let us know. The careful observer will notice that the Latin version is the longest, the French quite a bit shorter, and the English (Copland) incredibly short, so there appears to be some untranslated material in there somewhere.

    2. I haven't searched all the versions of Peter of Ravenna's name (yet) in all locations, but I recall hearing of an Italian version as well (and it's likely that there was one given its popularity).

      A bit of digging around this morning has uncovered a digital copy of a French translation in the Bibliothèque interuniversitaire de santé (Paris).:

      Given the date and the scant 16 pages, this is likely to be the edition which was the source of Robert Copland's English translation. As the edition doesn't appear to have an author, it's possible that this was the reason that Copland's translation didn't list one either.

      The Latin -> French -> middle English -> modern English route seems an awfully muddy way to go, but without anything else, it may have to suffice for some of us for the moment.

    1. I've found several digital copies in Latin:

      I've come across a recent text The Memory Arts in Renaissance England: A Critical Anthology edited by William E. Engel, Rory Loughnane, and Grant Williams (Cambridge University Press, 2016). (Google books should let you preview most of it, if it helps.) It contains an extended excerpt of about 5 pages of The Phoenix from the opening three chapters of Robert Copland's translation, which they consider weak. They also include a synopsis of the other 9 chapters. Copland apparently didn't acknowledge Ravenna as the original author, not did he supply the name of the French text he purports to translate.

      I've got feelers out to a few classicists to see if anyone has a personal translation from the Latin that they're willing to share.

      As for the size of the text, I know what you mean. I've recently acquired a 1799 edition of Richard Grey's Memoria Technica which is both smaller and denser than I had expected.

      This also reminds me that I've been wanting to re-publish copies of some of the public domain classical memory texts (and/or translations) in modern typesetting/binding as a series. If anyone wants to lend a hand with creating/editing such a thing let me know.