Monday, November 29, 2010

Pierre Grimal

French authors stink. Especially brilliant French authors who manage not to get themselves translated into any other language. Like Pierre Grimal. I've just finished his “Tacitus”, and it's absolutely perfect, same as his “Roman Civilization”. His books are well balanced, don't get drowned in details, like most biographies tend to, these days, and, for me, at least, they contain the exact right amount of new information versus things I already knew, so they don't overload my tired brain, but are still interesting and stimulating.

And he has a ton of other books and articles, which seem great by the title, especially knowing that I like his work already, but they're available only in French – beautiful language, by the way, but I'd rather take a champagne enema than read history books in French.

The Dictionary of Classical Mythology
is the only one – as far as I could find – that was translated into English, which is all very nice, except that there are about a billion great dictionaries and books on mythology. But the niche seems pretty empty on other topics covered by Grimal, such as Agrippina's memoirs, the art of gardening, Roman villas, and a bunch of studies on Seneca, Horace, Cicero, Scipio, Virgil and so many more. In French. Gah.