Lloyd H. Ellis, Jr., M.D., Ph.D.
When Sidney Alexander published his translation of Guicciardini’s Storia d’Italia in 1969, he explained, with another story, why he had eliminated forty percent of Guicciardini’s text. People from Laconia…Sparta… were proverbially laconic. A Laconian was tried, found guilty, and sentenced to the galleys for using three words instead of two. Offered his freedom if he would read entirely through Guicciardini’s account of the siege of Pisa, the Laconian pleaded to be sent instead to the galleys.
I have also eliminated forty percent of my author’s text. I think this allows the reader to concentrate on what is most important in the treatise: Borghini’s description of Counter Reformation ideas about the content of religious paintings; his description of the mid-sixteenth century reaction against the style of the Maniera; and, at the end of his treatise, the information he provides which updates the second edition of Vasari’s LeVite de’ piu eccelenti Pittori, Scultori e Architetori, published fourteen years before.
Sapend’io quanto di gratia si tolga alle parole nel trasportarle d’una in altra lingua, e quanto d’ornamento si spogliano i suggetti a levarli dal suo vivo fonte originale.
(I know how much grace is lost from the words in transporting them to another language, and how much ornament is removed from the subjects in removing them from their original source.)