Once heard alike in Latin, which context was that of people seeking, even demanding a shabby popularity, reputation in any of its' forms.

What would be a proper translation for that proverb?

Update: found an exact quote by Federico Fellini, but with no source, and Rinat Valiullin — «You may think bad of me, but all the same about me».

Update 2: also found a quote, claimed to be said by Salvador Dali, with no sources: «My motto is — let people speak about Dali. At the very least, let them speak good».

2 Answers 2


How many things are discovered while looking for something else? The translation given, in Comments, is incorrect.

For "dum" = "as long as", "dum" takes the indicative;

"haec feci dum licuit" = "I did this while (as long as) I was allowed".

The point is that for this translation ("as-long-as") the time of the action of the principal verb and the time of the action of the "dum"-verb must be contemporaneous--begin & end together (North & Hillard p.146).

The correct rendition of "dum" would be ["dum(modo)" + subjunctive] = "provided that" e.g.

Emperor Caius: "oderint dum metuant." = "Let them hate provided that they fear.".

Where "dum" takes the present subjunctive, "metuant".

Giving: "narrent me in gloria, narrent me in ignominia, dum(modo) me narrent.";

"Let them talk about me in glory, let them talk about me in shame, provided that they talk about me."

EDIT 29/5/2021:

Thanks to TKR. An adverbial treatment:

"narrent de me gloriose, narrent de me ignominiose, dum(modo) de me narrent." =

"Let them talk about me gloriously, let them talk about me badly, provided that they talk about me."

  • 4
    Narro doesn't appear to take an accusative in that way -- it would be narrent de me. (I'm not sure if in gloria/in ignominia is an idiomatic usage, either.)
    – TKR
    Commented May 26, 2021 at 2:15
  • @TKR: Thank you. Before I edit the answer, what does "an idiomatic usage" actually mean--it does make sense, in Latin; a Roman would say it like this?
    – tony
    Commented May 28, 2021 at 10:44
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    The latter -- I meant I'm not sure a native Latin speaker would use in gloria in this way.
    – TKR
    Commented May 28, 2021 at 23:06

I'm not really sure there is such a Latin proverb (maybe a phrase in some book, though I am not aware of it as well).

The closest I managed to find is English phrase:

I don’t care what you say about me as long as you spell my name right.

which has various attributions.

There is also a phrase in French:

Succès de scandale

which stands for success from scandal.

  • 1
    Another English version is: "The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about." - generally attributed to Oscar Wilde, and not without reason, as something very close is found in the first chapter of The Picture of Dorian Gray (though not as Wilde's opinion, rather that of a character in the book). Another version: "There's no such thing as bad publicity". But we are not looking for English quotes, are we? Commented Oct 7, 2020 at 0:14
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    @Jessy B: Don't we need the original Latin?
    – tony
    Commented Oct 7, 2020 at 8:31
  • 1
    @tony The question did indeed ask for a Latin proverb. This answer says there is none (but claims like that are hard to justify so it's hard to say more). Perhaps there simply is no suitable proverb in Latin, but there are some in other languages. It might also be that the phrase the OP heard was a translation from English to Latin, so the Latin is not original. So yes, we'd like to have the original Latin – if it happens to exist.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Oct 7, 2020 at 11:08
  • @Jessy B: Hazarding a guess: "narrent me in gloria, narrent me in ignominia, dum narrent" = "Let them discuss me in glory, let them discuss me in shame, as long as they discuss me."
    – tony
    Commented Oct 8, 2020 at 8:53
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    @Sebastian Koppehel: I like your invocation of Oscar Wilde. Are you going to translate it? A wild guess: "unus qui est peior quam famam habens, non famam habens." = "The one-and-only (thing) that is worse than fame/ gossip/ ill-repute is not having..."
    – tony
    Commented Oct 8, 2020 at 9:29

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