Translators Association – 60 Years of Classic Translations: The Leopard (1960)

In our series of 60 classic first translations to mark the 60th anniversary of the Translators Association, 1960 is represented by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s THE LEOPARD, translated from the Italian by Archibald Colquhoun. This great historical novel by the last prince of Lampedusa recounts the story of a Sicilian nobleman caught in the political and social upheaval of 19th-century Italy.

The ‘gattopardo’ of the title, translated into English as ‘leopard’, is in fact a smaller North African wildcat, the serval. Servals once ranged as far north as Lampedusa, where they were occasionally kept as exotic pets, but by the mid-19th century they were extinct in Italy. The ‘gattopardo’ is the heraldic animal on the Sicilian prince’s coat of arms.

Also in 1960, Nikos Kazantzakis’ controversial reinterpretation of the gospels, THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, was published in English for the first time, translated from the Greek by Peter A. Bien.

Meanwhile, in her translation of ZAZIE IN THE METRO, Barbara Wright pulled off the remarkable feat of rendering Raymond Queneau’s stylistically experimental, colloquial ‘neo-French’ into English. Howcanaystinksotho…

By Charlotte Collins

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