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Volney's ruins → Diff

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Revision 4 by Alan Millar December 18, 2010
Revision 5 by Anonymous May 17, 2012
description
0 ABOUT VOLNEY’S RUINS OF EMPIRES
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2 Volney’s Ruins is a book of general principles. It asks the question: is there not a universal principle that explains the rise and fall of empires? Volney’s answer—empires rise if the government allows enlightened self-interest to flourish—not only represents a refutation of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Social Contract. It also explains human history during the 200+ years since the book's publication: from the rise of the United States, to the fall of the Soviet Union, to the recent emergence of the Arab Spring.
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4 Thomas Jefferson like Volney's Ruins so much he secretely translated it into English. He saw the book as a means to teach future generations about the Enlightenment-based principles upon which the United States was founded. According to evidence discovered by Gilbert Chinard (1923), Jefferson was responsible for translating the first 20 chapters of Volney's Ruins, while Joel Barlow translated the final 4 chapters. Indeed, the first edition of the so-called Jefferson-Barlow translation, published in Paris by Levrault in 1802, is divided into two volumes: chapters 1-20 and chapters 21-24—an implicit recognition of the work done by two different translators.
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6 FIVE GENERAL RULES TO PURCHASE A JEFFERSON-BARLOW TRANSLATION
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8 (1) The first Jefferson-Barlow edition was published in Paris by Levrault in 1802. Hence, you needn't bother with English language translations published before that date. The first US edition was published by Dixon and Sickles of New York in 1828. (Here are two examples of what NOT to buy: James Lyon, Philadelphia, 1799 and William Davies, NY, 1796. To my knowledge, there is only one non-Jefferson-Barlow translation published in the US post-1802: see tag "S. Shaw" for more details.)
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10 (2) Beware of editions published in the UK: 99 percent are not the Jefferson-Barlow translation. If you see the word "survey" in the title, that is a clear indication the book was published in the UK and is not a Jefferson-Barlow translation. (To my knowledge, there is only one Jefferson-Barlow edition published in the UK: see tag "Hood & Cuthell" for more details.) In general, it's best to look for US editions post-1802.
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12 (3) If the title page includes the phrase "translated under the inspection of the author," this is the Jefferson-Barlow translation.
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14 (4) The Acid Test: turn to the Invocation: the first sentence should read: "Hail solitary ruins, holy sepulchres and silent walls! you I invoke; to you I address my prayer!" This is the Jefferson-Barlow translation.
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16 (5) If you still want confirmation, go to Gutenberg.org. They have a free electronic copy of the (unacknowledged) Jefferson-Barlow translation for your comparison:
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18 http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/1397
subject_places
0 France
1 United States
2 Syria
3 Egypt
4 Louisiana
subject_people
0 Thomas Jefferson
1 Joel Barlow
subject_times
0 Written more than 200 years ago
1 the book describes General Principles that apply today