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ON BEING A BUSYBODY (DE CURIOSITATE)This essay, which was apparently written only a short time before De Garrulitate,1 has much the same interest and charm as that pleasant work. The essays are akin in many ways ; portions of the later treatise are merely a reshaping of ideas and commonplaces which the earlier had adumbrated. The source of much of this work has been traced to Ariston of Chios by O. Hense (Rhein. Mus.,x Iv. 541 if.); and F. Krauss2 has shown with some success the relation to diatribe literature. The essay was already known to Aulus Gellius (xi. 16), who speaks with feeling of the difficulty of rendering πολυπραγμοσύνη in Latin3; nor has it been unknown to English moralists. Jeremy Taylor has again borrowed largely from it in his Holy Living, ii. 5. In the translation of this and the preceding essay I am greatly indebted to Mr. Tucker's4 spirited version, from which I have taken numerous phrases and sometimes whole sentences. The work is No. 97 in the Lamprias catalogue.
1 And no doubt also before De Tranquillitate (so rightly Brokate).
2 Die Rhetorischen Schriften Plutarchs, Munich Diss., Nürnberg, 1912, pp. 67 ff. See also the interesting table (p. 87) of rhetorical figures which places our essay in the very centre of Plutarch's literary activity.
3 It is hard to render it in English also. The translator uses the word ‘curiosity’ - Ed.
4 Select Essays of Plutarch, Oxford, Clarendon, 1913.