William Weaver

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William Fense Weaver (24 July 1923 12 November 2013) [1] was an English language translator of modern Italian literature. [2]



Weaver was best known for his translations of the work of Umberto Eco, Primo Levi and Italo Calvino, [3] but translated many other Italian authors over the course of a career which spanned more than fifty years. In addition to prose, he translated Italian poetry and opera libretti , and worked as a critic and commentator on the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts.

According to his nephew, Weaver was probably born in Washington, D.C., but spent a portion of the year in Virginia during his childhood. [3] Educated at Princeton University he graduated with a B.A. summa cum laude in 1946, followed by postgraduate study at the University of Rome in 1949. [4] Weaver was an ambulance driver in Italy during World War II for the American Field Service, and lived primarily in Italy after the end of the war. Through his friendships with Elsa Morante, Alberto Moravia and others, Weaver met many of Italy's leading authors and intellectuals in Rome in the late 1940s and early 1950s; he paid tribute to them in his anthology Open City (1999).

Later in his life, Weaver was a professor of literature at Bard College in New York, and a Bard Center Fellow. He received honorary degrees from the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom and Trinity College in Connecticut. According to translator Geoffrey Brock, Weaver was too ill to translate Umberto Eco's novel, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana (La misteriosa fiamma della regina Loana 2004).

Weaver died in Rhinebeck, New York state. [3]

Major translations

Italo Calvino


Umberto Eco



Bassani, Giorgio

Bellonci, Maria

Berto, Giuseppe

Calasso, Roberto

Capriolo, Paola

Cassola, Carlo

De Carlo, Andrea

De Cespedes, Alba

Elkann, Alain

Fallaci, Oriana

Festa Campanile, Pasquale

Fruttero, Carlo & Lucentini, Franco

Gadda, Carlo Emilio

La Capria, Raffaele

Lavagnino, Alessandra

Levi, Primo

Loy, Rosetta

Luciani, Albino

Malerba, Luigi

Montale, Eugenio

Morante, Elsa

Moravia, Alberto

Moretti, Ugo

Parise, Goffredo

Pasolini, Pier Paolo

Pirandello, Luigi

Rosso, Renzo

Sanguineti, Edoardo

Silone, Ignazio

Soldati, Mario

Svevo, Italo

Verdi, Giuseppe and Arrigo Boito

Zavattini, Cesare

As editor

Original works


Articles and contributions





  1. http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory/william-weaver-acclaimed-translator-dies-90-20904960
  2. William Weaver at Annandale-on-Hudson by Elizabeth Kiem from The Morning News
  3. 1 2 3 Bruce Weber "William Weaver, Influential Translator of Modern Italian Literature, Dies at 90", New York Times, 16 November 2013
  4. Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2008
  5. "National Book Awards – 1969". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-03-11.
    There was a "Translation" award from 1967 to 1983.
  6. The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1985. New York: Newspaper Enterprise Association, Inc. p. 415. ISBN   0-911818-71-5.


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