Thursday, June 16, 2016

Gregory Rabassa, 1922-2016

Word comes this Bloomsday of the death earlier this week of Gregory Rabassa, the dean of American translators. This spectral presence on our literary scene, who so beautifully ghosted into English Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude and Autumn of the Patriarch, Cortazar's Hopscotch, Antonio Lobo Antunes' Fado Alexandrino, Jose Lezama Lima's Paradiso, and so many other novels of Latin America and Iberia, is also remembered in a Washington Post obituary as the son of a Cuban immigrant father and an American-born mother, as a member of the OSS during World War Two, and as a lifelong university teacher of Spanish and Portuguese literature. Gabo once paid him the highest compliment any translator can receive, saying that Rabassa's English version of Cien anos de soledad was superior to the original Spanish. Gregory Rabassa was 94.

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