Maarten Maartensz

  Home - Philosophy - Leibniz - Notes - Note on the translation of Robert Lata











I found Robert Latta's translation of the Monadology that I used in my remarks on the internet, and I believe I have seen quite a long time ago a thin American paperback version of this version. However, in September 2001 I found and bought an antiquarian edition of:

The Monadology
other philosophical writings

with introduction and notes
Robert Latta, M.A., D.Phil. (Edin.)
lecturer in logic and metaphysics at the
University of St. Andrews

This information I reproduce from the title page (apart from typesetting). This book I now owe is a "Second Impression 1925 First Edition 1898", and is said to "have been produced photographically (...) from sheets of the First Edition". This second impression is by the Oxford University Press.

Altogether, this edition has 437 pages. It contains an admirable introduction of over 200 pages, and over a 100 pages of other translations from Leibniz's Collected Works. All translations have been plentifully supplied with footnotes, that are usually quite good and informative, and indeed Latta's translation of the Monadology comes with 144 footnotes in all, that taken together contain more text than the Monadology.

It is a pity these footnotes are not also on the internet, and someone better equipped with health and scanners than I am should put them there, as a matter of justice to Robert Latta and to his translation. 

Also, while I have no doubt that Bertrand Russell and C.D. Broad, whose books on Leibniz I read, were more capable philosophers than Robert Latta, Latta's book is quite good, and deserves to be read and to be more widely known: It is a good selection with good introductions and notes, and it contains more Leibnizian philosophy than Russell and Broad combined, for these mostly comment and paraphrase (though Russell's text contains an appendix with translated passages).

So for me this discovery of Latta's book has the status of discovering a minor classic, unfortunately far less known than it ought to be. Indeed, I had to cut most of the pages in the copy I bought: Uncut, unread, and not enjoyed for 76 years! "Books have their own fate" (as the Latin translates).

Maarten Maartensz
October 5, 2001

Maarten Maartensz       
last update: Mar 11 2004