My first author in translation, when I didn’t know what the word meant, was Aesop.
Trying to discover who translated the book, which represents, for me today, the beginning of my love for literature, is not an easy task.
We know that William Caxton printed a first copy in 1484, and that Jean De La Fontaine did too, in a sense, when he “borrowed” some of the stories for his book of fables, written in French in the 1600’s. This is fine if you consider that Aesop (620-569 B.C.) himself “borrowed” the fables handed down to him from one generation to the next.
As for La Fontaine, Bernard de Mandeville’s translation came out in 1703. The complete Fables by Robert Thomson next appeared in 1806, and it was followed by Elizur Wright’s renderings in 1841, and Walter Thornbury’s translation in 1867-70.
Well Roger L’Estranger’s Fables of Aesop and other eminent mythologists came out in 1692; H. Clarke’s Latin reader, Select fables of Aesop: with an English translation came out in 1787…
But what about my book?
It was easier to find the illustrator of my first book, Milo Winter, than the translator. The illustrator’s name, in fact, is proudly on the cover.
So I will keep searching.
And for the time being, I think I will thank them all.