William Weaver

William Fense Weaver (born 24 July, 1923) is considered the preeminent living English language translator of Italian literature.


William Weaver is perhaps best known for his translations of the work of Umberto Eco and Italo Calvino, and has translated many other prominent Italian authors over the course of a career spanning more than fifty years. In addition to prose, he has translated Italian poetry and opera libretti, and has worked as a critic and commentator on broadcasts of the U.S. Metropolitan Opera.

Born in the U.S. state of Virginia and educated at Princeton University B.A. (summa cum laude), 1946, with postgraduate study at the University of Rome, 1949. [Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2008] 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).

Most recently, 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 2005 novel, "The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana" ("La misteriosa fiamma della regina Loana", 2004). [http://www.themodernword.com/features/interview_brock.html]


"This bibliography is focused on monographs, and omits many individual stories and poems published in journals and collections. Original Italian titles and publication dates follow the English translations. Translation dates are those of Weaver's translation; ISBNs are those of editions in print at the time this entry was created. Weaver did not translate all of the works of the following authors, so the lists below do not represent their complete bodies of work."

Italo Calvino

* "Cosmicomics" (1965). ("Le cosmicomiche", 1965.) Harvest/HBJ (ISBN 0-15-622600-6).
* "T zero" (1969). ("Ti con zero", 1967.) Harvest/HBJ (ISBN 0-15-692400-5).
* "The Watcher and Other Stories" (1971). ("La giornata d'uno scrutatore" & "La nuvola di smog" trans. by W.W.; "La formica Argentina" trans. by Archibald Colquhoun.) Harcourt (ISBN 0-15-694952-0).
* "Invisible Cities" (1974). ("Le cittá invisibili", 1972.) Harvest/HBJ (ISBN 0-15-645380-0).
* "The Castle of Crossed Destinies" (1977). ("Il castello dei destini incrociati", 1973.) Harvest/HBJ (ISBN 0-15-615455-2).
* "If On a Winter's Night a Traveler" (1981). ("Se una notte d'inverno un viaggiatore", 1979.) Harvest/HBJ (ISBN 0-15-643961-1).
* "Marcovaldo, or, The Seasons in the City" (1983). ("Marcovaldo, ovvero, Le stagioni in citta", 1963.) Harvest/HBJ (ISBN 0-15-657204-4).
* "Difficult Loves" (1984). ("Gli amori difficili", 1949/1958.) Harvest/HBJ (ISBN 0-15-626055-7). ("W.W. was one of three translators of this collection.")
* "Mr. Palomar" (1985). ("Palomar", 1983.) Harvest/HBJ (ISBN 0-15-662780-9).
* "Prima che tu dica 'Pronto'" (1985). ("Prima che tu dica 'Pronto' ", 1985.)
* "Under the Jaguar Sun" (1988). ("Sotto il sole giaguaro", 1986.) Harvest/HBJ (ISBN 0-15-692794-2).

* "The Uses of Literature" (1982). ("Una pietra sopra", 1980.) Harvest/HBJ (ISBN 0-15-693250-4).

Umberto Eco

* "The Name of the Rose" (1983). ("Il nome della rosa", 1980.) Harvest/HBJ (ISBN 0-15-600131-4).
* "Foucault's Pendulum" (1989). ("Il pendolo di Foucault", 1988.) Ballantine (ISBN 0-345-36875-4).
* "The Bomb and the General" (1989). ("La bomba e il generale", 1966, 1988.) HBJ (ISBN 0-15-209700-7).
* "The Three Astronauts" (1989). ("I tre cosmonauti", 1966, 1988.) HBJ (ISBN 0-15-286383-4).
* "The Island of the Day Before" (1995). ("L'isola del giorno prima", 1994.) Penguin (ISBN 0-14-025919-8).
* "Baudolino" (2002). ("Baudolino", 2000.) Harvest/HBJ (ISBN 0-15-602906-5).

* "Travels in Hyperreality" (1986). (based in part on "Sette anni di desiderio: chronache 1977 - 1983", 1983.) Harcourt (ISBN 0-15-691321-6).
* "Serendipities: Language & Lunacy" (1989). Harvest Books (ISBN 0-15-600751-7).
* "A Rose by Any Other Name", in the "Guardian Weekly", January 16, 1994 [http://www.themodernword.com/eco/eco_guardian94.html]
* Postscript to "The Name of the Rose" (1995). Harcourt (ISBN 1-56849-675-3).
* "Misreadings" (1993). ("Diario minimo", 1963, 1975.) Harcourt, (ISBN 0-15-660752-2).
* "How to Travel with a Salmon and Other Essays" (1994). ("Il secondo diario minimo", 1992.) Harcourt (ISBN 0-15-600125-X).
* "Apocalypse Postponed" (1994). Indiana University Press (ISBN 0-85170-446-8). ("W.W. translated only one of the selections in this collection.")


* Bassani, Giorgio.
** "The Heron" (1970). ("L'airone", 1968.) Harcourt (ISBN 0-7043-0186-5).
** "Five Stories of Ferrara" (1971). ("Cinque storie ferraresi", 1956.) HBJ (ISBN 0-15-131400-4).
** "Behind the Door" (1972). ("Dietro la porta", 1964.) HBJ (ISBN 0-15-111697-0).
** "The Smell of Hay" (1975). ("L'odore del fieno", 1972.) Quartet Books (ISBN 0-7043-0221-7).
** "The Garden of the Finzi-Continis" (1977). ("Il giardino dei Finzi-Contini", 1962.) Harcourt (ISBN 0-15-634570-6).

* Bellonci, Maria.
** "Private Renaissance: A Novel" (1989). ("Rinascimento privato", 1985). William Morrow (ISBN 0-688-08188-6).

* Berto, Giuseppe.
** "Incubus" (1966). ("Il male oscuro", 1964.) Knopf.
** "Antonio in Love" (1968). ("La cosa buffa", 1966.) Knopf.

* Calasso, Roberto.
** "The Ruin of Kasch" (1994). ("La rovina di Kasch", 1983.) Belknap Press (ISBN 0-674-78029-9).

* Capriolo, Paola.
** "The Helsmsman" (1991). ("Il nocchiero", 1989.) HarperCollins (ISBN 0-00-223649-4).

* Cassola, Carlo.
** "An Arid Heart" (1964). ("Un cuore arido", 1961.) Pantheon.

* De Carlo, Andrea.
** "Macno" (1987). ("Macno", 1984.) Harcourt (ISBN 0-15-154899-4).
** "Yucatan" (1990). ("Yucatan", 1986.) HBJ (ISBN 0-15-199895-7).

* De Cespedes, Alba.
** "Remorse" (1967). ("Il rimorso", 1963.) Doubleday.

* Elkann, Alain.
** "Piazza Carignano" (1986). ("Piazza Carignano", 1985.) Atlantic Monthly Press (ISBN 0-87113-109-9).
** "Misguided Lives: A Novel" (1989). ("Montagne russe", 1988). Atlantic Monthly Press (ISBN 0-87113-295-8).

* Fallaci, Oriana.
** "A Man" (1980). ("Un'uomo", 1979.) Simon & Schuster (ISBN 0-671-25241-0).
** "Inshallah" (1992). ("Insciallah", 1990.) Talese (ISBN 0-385-41987-2).

* Festa Campanile, Pasquale.
** "For Love, Only for Love" (1989). ("Per Amore, Solo per Amore", 1983.) Ballantine (ISBN 0-345-36336-1).

* Fruttero, Carlo & Lucentini, Franco.
** "The Sunday Woman" (1973). ("La donna della domenica", 1972.) HBJ (ISBN 0-15-186720-8).

* Gadda, Carlo Emilio.
** "That Awful Mess on Via Merulana: A Novel" (1965). ("Quer pasticciaccio brutta de via Merulana", 1957.) George Braziller (ISBN 0-8076-1093-3).
** "The fire in via Keplero" ("L'incendio in via Keplero"). In "Art and Literature" 1 (March 1964), pp. 18-30.
** "Acquainted with Grief" (1969). ("La cognizione del dolore", 1963.) Peter Owen (ISBN 0-8076-1115-8).

* La Capria, Raffaele.
** "A Day of Impatience" (1954). ("Un giorno d'impazienza", 1952.) Farrar, Straus, Young. ("This was W.W.'s first full-length literary translation, per Healey's" Bibliography.)

* Lavagnino, Alessandra.
** "The Lizards" (1972). ("I lucertoloni", 1969.) Harper & Row (ISBN 0-06-012537-3).

* Levi, Primo.
** "The Monkey's Wrench" (1986/1995). ("La chiave a stella", 1978.) Penguin Classics (ISBN 0-14-018892-4).
** "If Not Now, When?" (1995). ("Se non ora, quando?" 1982.) Penguin Classics (ISBN 0-14-018893-2).

* Loy, Rosetta.
** The Dust Roads of Monferrato (1990). ("Le strade di polvere", 1987.) Knopf (ISBN 0-394-58849-5).

* Malerba, Luigi.
** "The Serpent" (1968). ("Il serpente", 1965.) Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
** "What is this buzzing, do you hear it too?" (1969). ("Salto mortale", 1968.) Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

* Montale, Eugenio.
** Butterfly of Dinard (1966). ("La farfalla di Dinard", 1956/1960.) In "Art and Literature" 9 (Summer 1966), pp. 54-60.
** "Italo Svevo, on the centenary of his birth." In "Art and Literature" 12 (Spring 1967), pp. 9-31.

* Morante, Elsa.
** "" (1977). ("La storia", 1974.) Steerforth Italia (ISBN 1-58642-004-6).
** "Aracoeli: A Novel" (1984). ("Aracoeli" 1982.) Random House (ISBN 0-394-53518-9).

* Moravia, Alberto.
** "1934 : A Novel" (1983). ("1934", 1982). Farrar, Straus and Giroux (ISBN 0-374-52652-4).
** "Life of Moravia" (2000). ("Vita di Moravia", 1990.) Steerforth Italia (ISBN 1-883642-50-7).
** "Two Germans" (2002). ("Due tedeschi", 1945.) In "Conjunctions:38, Rejoicing Revoicing". Bard College (ISBN 0-941964-54-X).
** "Boredom" (2004). ("Noia", 1960.) New York Review Books Classics (ISBN 1-59017-121-7). ("Introduction by W.W.; trans. by Angus Davidson".)

* Moretti, Ugo.
** "Artists in Rome" (1958). ("Gente al Babuino", 1955.) Macmillan.

* Parise, Goffredo.
** "The Boss" (1966). ("Il padrone", 1965.) Knopf.

* Pasolini, Pier Paolo.
** "A Violent Life", (1968). ("Una vita violenta", 1959.) Jonathan Cape (ISBN 1-85754-284-3).

* Pirandello, Luigi.
** "One, No One, and One Hundred Thousand" (1990). ("Uno, nessuno, e centomila", 1926.) Marsilio (ISBN 0-941419-74-6).
** "The Late Mattia Pascal" (1964). ("Il Fu Mattia Pascal", 1904.) New York Review Books Classics (ISBN 1-59017-115-2).

* Rosso, Renzo.
** "The Hard Thorn" (1966). ("La dura spina", 1963.) Alan Ross.

* Sanguineti, Edoardo.
** Extract from "Capriccio italiano". In "Art and Literature" 2 (Summer 1964), pp. 88-97.

* Silone, Ignazio.
** "The School for Dictators" (1963). ("La scuola dei dittatori", 1938/1962.) Atheneum.
** "The Story of a Humble Christian" (1970). ("L'avventura d'un povero cristiano", 1968.) Harper & Row (ISBN 0-06-013873-4).

* Soldati, Mario.
** "The Emerald: A Novel" (1977). ("Lo smeraldo", 1974.) Harcourt (ISBN 0-15-128530-6).
** "The American Bride" (1979). ("La sposa americana", 1977.) Hodder & Stoughton (ISBN 0-340-24148-9 ).

* Svevo, Italo.
** "Zeno's Conscience" (2001). ("La Coscienza di Zeno",1923.) Vintage (ISBN 0-375-72776-0).

* Verdi, Giuseppe and Arrigo Boito.
** "The Verdi-Boito Correspondence" (1994). ("Carteggio Verdi/Boito", 1978.) Marcello Conati and Mario Medici, eds. U. of Chicago Press (ISBN 0-226-85304-7). ("With commentary by W.W.")

* Zavattini, Cesare.
** "Zavattini: Sequences from a Cinematic Life" (1970). ("Straparole", 1967.) Prentice-Hall (ISBN 0-13-983916-X).

As Editor

* "Open City : Seven Writers in Postwar Rome : Ignazio Silone, Giorgio Bassani, Alberto Moravia, Elsa Morante, Natalia Ginzburg, Carlo Levi, Carlo Emili" (1999). Steerforth Italia (ISBN 1-883642-82-5).

Original Works


* "A Tent In This World" (novella, 1950/1999). McPherson & Company (ISBN 0-929701-58-5).

* "Duse: A Biography". Harvest/HBJ (ISBN 0-15-626259-2).

* "The Golden Century of Italian opera from Rossini to Puccini" (1980). Thames and Hudson (ISBN 0-500-01240-7).

* "Puccini: The Man and His Music" (1977). E. P. Dutton, Metropolitan Opera Guild composer series.

* "The Puccini Companion : Essays on Puccini's Life and Music" (1994). William Weaver and Simonetta Puccini, eds. W.W. Norton (ISBN 0-393-32052-9)

* "Seven Puccini Librettos in the Original Italian" (1981). W.W. Norton (ISBN 0-393-00930-0).

* "Seven Verdi Librettos: With the Original Italian" (1977). W.W. Norton (ISBN 0-393-00852-5).

* "The Verdi Companion" (1979). W.W. Norton (ISBN 0-393-30443-4).

* "Verdi, a Documentary Study" (1977). Thames and Hudson. (ISBN 0-500-01184-2).

Articles and Contributions

* "Pendulum Diary." "Southwest Review" 75(2), 150-178 (1990). ("W.W.'s experience translating" Foucault's Pendulum.)
* " [http://www.arts.ed.ac.uk/italian/gadda/Pages/resources/babelgadda/babeng/weavertranslation.html The Process of Translation] " In Biguenet, John and Rainer Schulte. Introduction. The Craft of Translation. Ed. John Biguenet and Rainer Schulte. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1989.
* Clark, Eleanor.
** "Rome and a Villa" (2000). Steerforth Italia (ISBN 1-883642-51-5). ("W.W. wrote an introduction for this travelogue/memoir by Clark, whom he knew in Rome in the late 1940s.")


* "William Weaver, The Art of Translation No. 3." "The Paris Review", Issue 161, Spring 2002 [http://www.theparisreview.com/viewinterview.php/prmMID/421]

* "An Interview with William Weaver", by Martha King. "Translation Review" 14, 1984. pp. 4-9.


National Book Award for Translation
* 1969, for Calvino's "Cosmicomics"

PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize

* 1984, for Umberto Eco's "The Name of the Rose"
* 1990, for Umberto Eco's "Foucault's Pendulum"

The John Florio Prize for Italian Translations from The Society of Authors

* 1969, for Pier Pasolini's "A Violent Life"
* 1971, for Giorgio Bassani's "The Heron"
* 1971, for Italo Calvino's "Time and the Hunter"
* 1992, for Rosetta Loy's "The Dust Roads of Monferrato"

The Lewis Galantiere Prize from the American Translators Association

Member, The American Academy of Arts and Letters


* "Calvino was not a writer of hits; he was a writer of classics." — On the fact that Calvino's English translations have never been best-sellers, but have instead steady, consistent sales year after year. [http://www.des.emory.edu/mfp/calvino/calweaver.html]

* "Translating Calvino is an aural exercise as well as a verbal one. It is not a process of turning this Italian noun into that English one, but rather of pursuing a cadence, a rhythm—sometimes regular, sometimes wilfully jagged—and trying to catch it, while, like a Wagner villain, it may squirm and change shape in your hands." [http://www.des.emory.edu/mfp/calvino/calweaver.html]

* "Some of the hardest things to translate into English from Italian are not great big words, such as you find in Eco, but perfectly simple things, 'buon giorno' for instance. How to translate that? We don't say 'good day,' except in Australia. It has to be translated 'good morning' or 'good evening' or 'good afternoon' or 'hello.' You have to know not only the time of day the scene is taking place, but also in which part of Italy it's taking place, because in some places they start saying 'buona sera' ('good evening') at 1:00 P.M. The minute they get up from the luncheon table it's evening for them. So someone could say 'buona sera,' but you can't translate it as 'good evening' because the scene is taking place at 3:00 P.M. You need to know the language but, even more, the life of the country." — From the "Paris Review" interview, 2002.


* Robin Healey's monumental "Twentieth-Century Italian Literature in English Translation: An Annotated Bibliography" (ISBN 0-8020-0800-3) was extremely helpful in the preparation of the bibliography portion of this entry.
* [http://www.themodernword.com/eco Porto Ludovica] from The Modern Word, supplied additional details on Eco translations.
* "Bound to Please", by Michael Dirda p 31-33, W.W. Norton, 2005. A chapter discussing William Weaver's translation of "The Name of the Rose", by Umberto Eco.


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