Edith Grossman is honored on the occasion of her 80th birthday. One of the most celebrated literary translators of our time, Grossman has been praised for her translations of work by Gabriel García Márquez, Carlos Fuentes, Antonio Muñoz Molina, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, and many others. Her acclaimed 2003 translation of Cervantes’ Don Quixote is already considered a classic.

This tribute was written by Inmaculada de Habsburgo and Daniel Henninger. Inmaculada de Habsburgo is the former President & CEO of the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute. Daniel Henninger is Deputy Editorial Page Director of The Wall Street Journal.

We would like to take special note of Dr. Edith Grossman’s contributions to the life and spirit of the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute. The Institute was created to enhance awareness in the United States of the cultural and intellectual life of Spain and Latin America. To succeed, we had to rely on individuals with a unique awareness of both worlds. Edie, of course, was a central figure in that undertaking.

Edie was always a participant herself. Among her magnificent presentations, to mention just a few were: “Translating Don Quijote” (2005); “Luis de Góngora, The Solitudes: Challenging the Prince of Darkness” (2010) and “On the Art of Translation: A Conversation with Edith Grossman” (2007) with foremost Golden Age scholar, Lia Schwarz de Lerner. 

In 2006, the Board and the Cultural Committee of the Institute established a translation prize for the best translation of a work of fiction written in Castilian and published in the United States between 2006 and 2008. The Inaugural prize was given to Dr. Edith Grossman in 2010 for her 2008 translation of Antonio Muñoz Molina’s Manuscript of Ashes

As suggested here, these Institute events often took the form of a conversation between Edie and our guest speakers. As all of us know well, any conversation with Edie Grossman is one of life’s great pleasures. You learn from her and learn from yourself, as Edie elicits new trains of thought, new angles of entry into any subject. Perhaps this has something to do with the translator’s art, finding fresh ways to render what seems obvious to the rest of us. Or perhaps it also has something to do with her lifelong love of the precise improvisations of jazz and poetry. All of her evenings at the Institute were discoveries, and we do, gratefully, treasure her as a colleague, source of inspiration, and a good and valued friend.