I first met Françoise Frazier in 2013. It was at the Plutarch Network Conference organized by our colleagues of the Koninkelijke Universiteit Leuven. The venue was the magnificent Groot Begijnhof of Leuven, and I still remember the amicable coffee breaks and chats outside the wonderful building. During these breaks I got to know some of our Leuven colleagues better and, of course, Françoise as well, who, I remember, improvised, as she used to do, some of her favorite opera arias (I think it was “Caro nome” from Verdi’s Rigoletto and “Una voce poco fa” from Rossini’s Barbiere).
In the following years I had the honor of getting to know Françoise better. Throughout this time, the plan to develop a new series on Plutarch began to take shape slowly but steadily. Delfim Leão and I designed and promoted the new Brill’s Plutarch Studies (BPS) project among our European colleagues. Françoise was very enthusiastic about the new project and was the first to kindly accept our invitation to be a member of the Board of Editors for the series. She promised to consider our proposal for her to publish a book through the series as well. Her initial hesitation left later room for renewed enthusiasm, and during 2015 we regularly mailed about the project, which slowly matured in her mind, as she collected her “articles about Plutarch’s philosophical dialogues (esp. the Erotikos, but not only).” It was at the end of the same year, at the Plutarch Network meeting at the beautiful Salerno, that Françoise’s contribution to the Brill’s Plutarch Studies began to take definitive shape. The contents were never a problem, since the list of articles that would form the volume were clear to her from the beginning. Her doubts concerned the timeline, since besides her numerous projects and commitments (among others Amyot’s edition), the illness that finally stole her life began to advance. In this sense, we originally foresaw a long-term preparation for the volume. In fact, in an email from the beginning of 2016 she informed me that 2018 was the most feasible date of publication, but that 2019 might also be a workable possibility.
When we met at the next Plutarch meeting organized by Françoise herself at the University Paris-Nanterre (September 2016), however, her plans had changed dramatically. Her illness was advancing rapidly, and she felt the urge to finalize her manuscript as soon as possible. She informed Delfim and me that she would try to finish her manuscript before the end of the year, which thanks to the help of one of her close colleagues might be a feasible plan. When on the 24th of December 2016 I received an email from Olivier Munnich, Professor of Greek Language and Literature at the University of Paris-Sorbonne, I was excited to open it, since I expected to find within its contents Françoise’s finished manuscript. However, Socrates’ assertion in the Phaedo that pleasure and pain are intrinsically connected suddenly struck me. As I opened the email, I read the very sad news regarding Françoise’s untimely passing. In his email our colleague Munnich informed me about all the work and effort Françoise had put into the manuscript. In fact, by some miracle, she had managed to finish the manuscript only some days before passing away, on 14 December 2016.
In the ensuing days, I had intense communication with two of Françoise’s close friends and colleagues, Olivier Guerrier and Olivier Munnich, along with several of our colleagues from the International Plutarch Society. Behind all these conversations and email contacts, there was a wide consensus that Françoise’s book should see the light as soon as possible. As to the former, they were obviously eager to see the fruit of their friend’s last efforts on paper; as to the latter, her colleagues of the IPS thought the upcoming IPS conference at Fribourg (2017) was the perfect venue to present such a book.
Upon closer examination of the manuscript, however, it was evident that this plan was not feasible. Even if in a rather advanced stadium, the manuscript still required some attention from the point of view of both form and content. Most of the problems concerned, as is usually the case, numerous annoying trivial issues, which Françoise might have corrected herself in a later stadium, if she had the time and opportunity to do so. However, there were also some more substantial issues that required editorial attention, such as vacant quotations, the addition of internal cross-references, and the preparation of both a bibliography including all the works referred to in the book and the indexes. After some deliberation and more conversations, Delfim Leão and I, as Editors-in-Chief of the series Brill’s Plutarch Studies, took the difficult but necessary decision to delay the publication until the book was completely ready. On the one hand, there was moral obligation to the memory of Françoise Frazier and our will to let her book shine in all its splendour; on the other, the high standards that characterize the publications of Brill Academic Publishers.
Now, I am sure this was the right option, since I am glad to say that thanks to the collaboration of several persons we managed to prepare the manuscript in the best possible way. I would therefore like to thank Olivier Munnich, Olivier Guerrier, Luisa Lesage Gárriga, Delfim Leão, and Ciro Arbós Moya for their constant help and thoroughness in the several revisions that we undertook during the last two years in order to complete the manuscript.
Even though we were determined to polish the book as much as possible, there was a wide consensus among all persons involved in the decision-making related to the book that the copy-editing process should not affect Françoise’s text beyond the necessary material errors. As a result, the reader may now and then detect certain minor repetitions, which are mainly due to the fact that the chapters of this book originally appeared as articles in journals and edited volumes. A complete list including all the original publications is included after this introduction in the section “Remerciements.” Unfortunately, Françoise did not have the time needed either for homogenizing the separate articles, eliminating repetitions now that articles were published together in a coherent whole, or for an update of the bibliographic references. This was part of the laborious copy-edit process. All interventions in the manuscript that I felt were necessary are preceded by the sigla “EN” (Editor’s Note) and conveniently placed between brackets. These “editorial intrusions” mainly concern correction of some footnotes, additions, translations, and updated bibliographic references. Needless to say I tried to keep them to the minimum.
Lastly, I would like to thank Brill for its unconditional support; and warm thanks are also due to the anonymous peer reviewers of the volume and their constructive feedback and suggestions.
Dear Françoise, may your soul walk the paths known to Timarchus and Aridaeus; May it be granted some leisure at the lunar Elysian field, and then gently dissolve on the Moon, before releasing your intellect on its way to the Sun.
Lautaro Roig Lanzillotta