February 3, 2013 By

William Weaver dies at 90

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One of the greatest translators of Italian literature, William Weaver, died on Tuesday. He was ninety years old. His death was announced by Leon Botstein, the president of Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., where Weaver taught in the 1990s. He suffered a stroke several years ago and had been in poor health since then. His translations of works of many eminent writers like Italo Calvino, Umberto Eco and Primo fostered the growth of Italian literature globally. He translated dozens of books, a dozen by Calvino alone, including “Invisible Cities,” which comprises descriptive and philosophical conversations between Marco Polo and Kublai Khan, and a collection of short stories, “Cosmicomics,” for which Weaver won a National Book Award for translation in 1969. His work embraced the highest echelons of modern Italian fiction, nonfiction, poetry, prose and opera librettos, translating relatively obscure works like “One, No One and One Hundred Thousand,” Luigi Pirandello’s 1926 novel about a man obsessively exploring facets of his own identity, as well as the international best seller “The Name of the Rose”. Weaver had also translated the works of Alberto Moravia, Eugenio Montale, Oriana Fallaci, Ugo Moretti, Carlo Emilio Gadda, Elsa Morante, Pier Paolo Pasolini and Italo Svevo and many others.

William Fense Weaver was born into a household of books and music on July 24, 1923, in Washington as the youngest of five siblings. He moved to Italy living much of his adult life there and became interested in Italian literature. He studied Italian on his own for translating the language into English. He told stories from the forefront of Italian literary life and often wrote about opera. Weaver’s partner, Kazuo Nakajima, died in May this year.

Caption: worldliteratureandphilosophy.blogspot.com

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