Edith Grossman

Edith Grossman

Fellow: Awarded 2008
Field of Study: Translation

Competition: US & Canada

Among the foremost translators of Spanish and Latin American literature, Edith Grossman is perhaps best known for her extremely successful rendering of Gabriel García Márquez’ Love in the Time of Cholera (Knopf, 1988) and for her universally acclaimed translation of Cervantes’ Don Quixote (Ecco Press, 2003). Among the many other authors whose works she has translated are Mario Vargas Llosa, Jaime Manrique, Mayra Montero, Ariel Dorfman, Carlos Fuentes, and Antonio Muñoz. 

Her interest in Spanish first piqued in high school, she earned a B.A. (1957) and M.A. (1959) in Spanish from the University of Pennsylvania; she travelled to Spain as a Fulbright Fellow in 1962-63, then resumed her teaching and, in 1966, her graduate studies, receiving a Ph.D. in Latin American literature from New York University in 1972.

Although she taught Spanish for more than twenty-five years, first at the City University of New York (1964-69), then at New York University (1969-72), and finally at Dominican College (1972-90), she had been drawn to translation even as an undergraduate, when Penn’s literary magazine published her translations of some poems of Juan Ramón Jimónez.  Her first professional translation was of a story by the Argentine writer Macedonio Fernández. By 1990 her success allowed her to resign from teaching to devote herself full-time to translation. Over the years, her work consistently earned plaudits: her translations of Alvaro Muria’ Maqroll. Three Novellas and Augusto Monterroso’s Complete Works were both hailed as Outstanding Translation of the Year by the American Literary Translators Association, in 1992 and 1996, respectively. The Los Angeles Times acclaimed both Love in the Time of Cholera (in 1989) and Memories of My Melancholy Whores (in 2006), also by García Márquez, as Novel of the Year; and she won the PEN-BOMC Translation Prize in 2001 for her rendering of Mario Vargas Llosa’s Feast of the Goat. In 2006, she received the PEN Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation for her lifetime achievement in the field. The citation read in part: "Her vivid, colorful translations of contemporary Latin American masters . . . and of the golden age classic Don Quixote transport the English reader beyond the borders of our language and deep into the realm of the imagination."


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