Eh, what? Could I have a more formal opening than that?
Really, what I'm saying, is nothing more than the trivial observation that it is fun, when reading, to find some reference or correspondence with something else you have been reading.
Something of Wilbur's which I recalled reading came back to my mind while I was shopping the after Christmas sales at the used book store. Talking about translating: "I tried to do a little Catullus around 1949 or so, but I had no luck with it. I can't stand the mincing and evasive translations of his tougher poems that one has in the Loeb Library; at the same time I couldn't find a way to be nasty in a language that was poetically effective."
Lately in this blog I have recorded reading some Loebs. I've always heard that the level of translations was uneven; though my C.R. Haines of Marcus Aurelius and Fronto seemed adequate enough. Though I have a Penguin edition, the Cicero I've been reading, translated by D.R. Shackleton Bailey, is drawn from the Loeb edition, or at least done by the same hand.
So I happened to find Martial translated by Wills in the cheapie bin. I'm not a fan of Wills, though his name has been mentioned here a time or two, because he represents a sort of dependability, even if one must take into account his biases. I had seen the edition reviewed here at The New York Review of Books, which at another time I managed to link but today seems behind the paywall. (I think possibly if you try to link through Facebook it will grant access to the full piece.)
Wills' dedication is to D.B. Shackleton Bailey. I don't know if he means possibly a brother, or if the difference is due to an embarrassing typo, but I notice that Shackleton Bailey is the translator of Martial at Loeb. Wills refers to the previous translator—which seems to be the object of Wilbur's dislike—as "Martialissimo" (however you want to interpret that superlative). Difference of opinion? Who knows. At any rate, Wills offers a readable, not necessarily a literal translation.
To a Pedant
"Peestockyou nuts," I said—you laughed at me.
"Pistashyos—now pronounce it properly!"
Alright, I'll use Pistachyos for the nut--
"Pesstockyos" call the hemorrhoids on your butt.