Raised by his uncle Pliny the Elder, who was a scholar and industrious compiler of Natural History, Pliny the Younger intended his Letters for posterity and polished them with extreme care. He was an orator, statesman, and well-educated man of the world. He wrote with discretion on a variety of subjects, and without the bitterness of his friends Tacitus and Suetonius or the disgust for the social conditions of those troubled times found in the writings of his contemporaries Juvenal and Martial. In the introduction to the Loeb edition, Hutchinson wrote: "Melmoth's translation of Pliny's letters, published in 1746, not only delighted contemporary critics . . . but deservedly ranks as a minor English classic. Apart from its literary excellence, it has the supreme merit of reflecting the spirit of the original. . . . No modern rendering can capture the ease and felicity of Melmoth's; for they came of his living in a world like "Pliny's own."'
Betty Radice (1912-1985) edited the Penguin Classics from 1964 to 1985 and translated Terence, Livy, Pliny, Abelard and Heloise, and Erasmus.