Found in Translation
Each week, we select the most interesting Jewish obituary. This week, it’s that of Allen Mandelbaum, who died late last month at 85. Though apparently proficient in Greek and Latin—he translated, after all, the Odyssey and Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and his 1973 version of the Aeneid won the National Book Award—he is most known for bringing English readers the work of Italian poets, from modern practitioners to the greatest of them all, Dante. His Divine Comedy was widely praised and led Dante’s hometown of Florence to award Mandelbaum its Gold Medal of Honor. A graduate of Yeshiva University and Columbia, Mandelbaum probably enjoyed knowing (and hopefully he knew it) that, every year, all Columbia first-years read the Inferno, and read his rendition of it.
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