While reading a free ebook version of Tusculan Disputations, apparently photo-captured from a long-out-of-copyright edition, and being interested in the unusual grammar in the older book, I "flipped" to the front of the book to check the name of the translator:

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A quick internet search for "a new translation by a gentleman" appears to return Tusculan Disputations as its top result. (And the other high results did not seem relevant.)

Was specifically attributing authorship or translation to "A Gentleman" an unusual thing in that period?

(It's difficult to know how to search for such an answer, since "A Gentleman" is a very generic phrase, and will largely return irrelevant results.)

  • 1
    Just some person who did not want his name on the title page. I don't think you will find out who he was. He just wanted to remain anonymous.
    – Alex
    Jan 29 '19 at 19:18
  • A gentleman is a person of education and breeding; his wealth may be quite modest, but he is able to live without "dirtying his hands" with trade or farming, except thru the hands of others. In early America most Gentlemen were either landed gentry, or lawyers holding official positions, etc. Jan 30 '19 at 1:27

The 1758 translation of the "Disputations" was by William Guthrie,


  • It may be the case that you know independently that it was William Guthrie. However, your link does not discuss Guthrie as a translator at all. I was also hoping (spelled out in the body of the question) for remarks addressing whether it was unusual at the time to use such a generic attribution.
    – Jedediah
    Jan 29 '19 at 19:36
  • The translations are discussed at the end of the article, admittedly without indicating the titles. I have assumed that the combination of "Guthrie", "Cicero", and "1758" points to this book, but maybe I am wrong.
    – fdb
    Jan 29 '19 at 20:03
  • Ah, I see it. Yes, that's more of a thing, but still a thin thread. And the article cited in Wikipedia is behind a paywall.
    – Jedediah
    Jan 29 '19 at 20:11
  • The Wikipedia article is plagiarized from the "Dictionary of National Biography", which has neither more nor less on this matter. The DNB is a reputable source (unlike Wikipedia).
    – fdb
    Jan 29 '19 at 20:17
  • Don’t think the author will come forward to say "it was me" , so all you will get are "thin threads"...
    – Solar Mike
    Jan 31 '19 at 4:54

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