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platonic conception of the ultimate prison

English translation: probably should be prism

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13:10 Jul 7, 2007
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature
English term or phrase: platonic conception of the ultimate prison
Near the end of the second chapter of F.S. Fitzgerald's story "The Diamond as Big as the Ritz" there is the sentence: There was... a room that was like a platonic conception of the ultimate prison — ceiling, floor, and all, it was lined with an unbroken mass of diamonds, diamonds of every size and shape, until, lit with tall violet lamps in the corners, it dazzled the eyes with a whiteness that could be compared only with itself, beyond human wish or dream.
What has a prison to do with all this? Or is this perhaps a misspelling of 'prism'. (There is 'prism' in one of the electronic editions on the internet, but 'prison' in some other and in my copy on paper.)
alexei
English translation:probably should be prism
Explanation:
Hello. I am no expert on Fitzgerald scholarship, but "prison" sounds distinctly odd to me. (Admittedly, there are quite a few distinctly odd pieces of terminology in that story.)

"Prison" for "prism" is a plausible error for an OCR scanner to make, but also for a human typist. I am afraid that there are many, even native English speakers, who would not even recognise the word "prism".
Selected response from:

Richard Benham
France
Local time: 01:27
Grading comment
Thank you. You nearly resolved my doubts. It seems strange to me anyhow that the variant with 'prism' hardly comes up anywhere except on "www.sc.edu"
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
3 +4probably should be prism
Richard Benham
3the prison is O.K.salavat


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +4
probably should be prism


Explanation:
Hello. I am no expert on Fitzgerald scholarship, but "prison" sounds distinctly odd to me. (Admittedly, there are quite a few distinctly odd pieces of terminology in that story.)

"Prison" for "prism" is a plausible error for an OCR scanner to make, but also for a human typist. I am afraid that there are many, even native English speakers, who would not even recognise the word "prism".

Richard Benham
France
Local time: 01:27
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 24
Grading comment
Thank you. You nearly resolved my doubts. It seems strange to me anyhow that the variant with 'prism' hardly comes up anywhere except on "www.sc.edu"

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Jonathan MacKerron: http://www.sc.edu/fitzgerald/diamond/diamond.html; interestingly the word "prison" also comes up in this passage
21 mins
  -> That makes such an error much more likely.

agree  Elena Aleksandrova
6 hrs
  -> Thanks.

agree  missdutch: you're definitely right
8 hrs

agree  xxxsilvia b
8 hrs
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1 day4 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
the prison is O.K.


Explanation:
Imho F.S. Fitzgerald refer to famous Plato's image "the Cave" from his work 'Republic"
http://www.ship.edu/~cgboeree/platoscave.html
[Socrates:] And now, I said, let me show in a figure how far our nature is enlightened or unenlightened: --Behold! human beings living in a underground den, which has a mouth open towards the light and reaching all along the den; here they have been from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them, being prevented by the chains from turning round their heads. Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance, and between the fire and the prisoners there is a raised way; and you will see, if you look, a low wall built along the way, like the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets.

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Note added at 5 days (2007-07-12 16:56:51 GMT) Post-grading
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The room described by F.S. Fitzgerald is similar to the Plato's cave at least in one way: the light is coming from nowhere to the prisoners, they can't see the sourse of light.

salavat
Local time: 04:27
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian
PRO pts in category: 20
Notes to answerer
Asker: Thank you! Perhaps you are right. In fact, I know this passage about the Cave. And I agree that this cave can be referred to as "ultimate prison". Nevertheless I do not quite understand this comparison; I would not imagine that a room full of diamonds bears much resemblance to Plato's cave.

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Voters for reclassification
as
PRO / non-PRO
PRO (3): xxxsofiablu, Сергей Лузан, JaneTranslates
Non-PRO (1): xxxsilvia b


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Changes made by editors
Jul 7, 2007 - Changes made by JaneTranslates:
LevelNon-PRO » PRO


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