Today I felt like re-reading Cicero’s De Amicitia, one of my favorite of his works, but things took a turn for the not-so-good life when I picked Michael Grant’s translation, included in the Penguin edition of the collection of Cicero’s works known as On the Good Life.
Calling this thing a translation of Cicero would be like calling a blobfish a whale. One is a majestic marine mammal, and the other is a flabby fish that never should have left the stygian depths to see the light of day, yet somehow became a popular media sensation. Even this metaphor does not truly express the debasement Penguin has brought upon Cicero, and also does a great injustice to the blobfish, which is really not all that bad.
I could go on, but in the interest of my blood pressure, I will leave it at that. Peace, love, don’t read this book, amen.
Updated Apr 16 to clarify: it’s not technically a bad or inaccurate translation, it just takes something very precise and elegant, and turns it into something very nonspecific and marketable. As I said: flabby.