22 February 2013

They Will Find Me

Mrs. Rudolf Dircks in the introduction to her translation of the Essays of Schopenhauer (London: Walter Scott, 1890), p. vii:
When Schopenhauer was asked where he wished to be buried, he answered, “Anywhere; they will find me;” and the stone that marks his grave at Frankfurt bears merely the inscription “Arthur Schopenhauer,” without even the date of his birth or death. Schopenhauer, the pessimist, had a sufficiently optimistic conviction that his message to the world would ultimately be listened to — a conviction that never failed him during a lifetime of disappointments, of neglect in quarters where perhaps he would have most cherished appreciation; a conviction that only showed some signs of being justified a few years before his death. Schopenhauer was no opportunist; he was not even conciliatory; he never hesitated to declare his own faith in himself, in his principles, in his philosophy; he did not ask to be listened to as a matter of courtesy but as a right — a right for which he would struggle, for which he fought, and which has in the course of time, it may be admitted, been conceded to him.
Arthur Schopenhauer was born on this day in 1788.

Arthur Schopenhauer, from a daguerreotype taken in 1842
Source: The Goethe University Frankfurt Archives

Dr. Wilhelm Gwinner was Schopenhauer's friend, lawyer, and executor. His biography Arthur Schopenhauer aus persönlichem Umgange dargestellt (Arthur Schopenhauer Depicted from Personal Acquaintance) is an important primary source but, as far as I can tell, it has remained untranslated for more than 150 years. Why is this so? Rather than launch into a diatribe about all that is wrong with the publishing business, I'll just stake my claim — I am translating the book and intend to publish it myself. I would like to set aside everything else and focus on it exclusively, but that may be unreasonable.