Pietro L'Aretino

" In art, immorality cannot exist.

Art is always sacred"
- August Rodin

To render Aretino’s Sonneti lussuriosi into English (or, for that matter, into almost any other language) with anything approaching literalness would be to achieve a work of unredeemed pornography; and while pornography undoubtedly has its value in this republic, it is not the end sought here, which is to gve as accurate as possible an idea of Aretino’s work. Such a procedure on the part of the translator would, accordingly, be an unfaithfulness to his author; it would be, as translators too often do, to betray the latter by a false faithfulness. For the Italian, in portraying the nuances and delicate shadings of debauchery, possesses certain advantages which are not to be found outside the Latin dialects. Take the Seven Freudian Sins and set them to music and the effect is rather different from that attained by our harsh nordic gutturals. Even the Germans, whom we may sometimes take to have been the inventors of sensual expression in paint and words, have found this to be true. Upon reading over my own version, I am convinced it is nearer the spirit of the original than any of the alleged literal renderings I have seen. In view of the invincible pruderies (“retincenes is the college professor’s word) of our English speech, it is as faithful as it feasibly could be. Incidentally, it is better poetry.