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Remembering Edith Grossman: A Woman Who Shaped Literary Translation

Edith Grossman, a revered figure in the world of literary translation, passed away at the age of 87. Her contributions to the literary world are immeasurable, with her English translations of Miguel de Cervantes’ “Don Quixote” and Gabriel García Márquez’s “Love in the Time of Cholera”.

One of Grossman’s pioneering moves was insisting that her name appear on the covers of the books she translated. She believed that translation was not a mere act of mimicry but an art of critical interpretation, emphasizing that no two languages, with their unique cultural and historical contexts, could ever perfectly align.

Grossman’s journey in the field began after earning a BA in Spanish language and an MA in Spanish literature. She continued her academic pursuits with a doctorate in Latin American literature at New York University. In 1972, she embarked on her translation career, a path that would solidify her reputation as one of the finest translators of her time.

Her translation of “Don Quixote” in 2003 was hailed as definitive, and she received widespread acclaim for her ability to articulate the nuances of the original work. Grossman’s contributions earned her numerous accolades, including the PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation in 2006 and the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute Translation Prize in 2010. Her impact on the world of translation and literature is undeniable, and she will be remembered as a true luminary in her field.

 

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