PEN Mourns Loss of Renowned Translator and PEN Member Joachim Neugroschel
PEN joins the international literary community in mourning the passing of prolific literary translator, essayist, art critic, poet, editor, and publisher Joachim Neugroschel, who died on May 23 in Brooklyn, New York. He was 73 years old. Neugroschel was born in Vienna on January 13, 1938, a few months prior to the Anchluss. The Neugroschel family immigrated to Rio de Janeiro in 1939 and to New York in 1941. Joachim Neugroschel graduated from Columbia University in 1958 with a degree in English and Comparative Literature.
In a career that spanned four decades, Neugroschel translated more than 200 books from Yiddish, French, German, Russian, and Italian. Not only was he a translator of fiction, poetry, memoirs and biographies, but also anthropology, art history, literary criticism, philosophy, politics and religion. The son of the Yiddish Galician poet Mendel Neugroschel, Joachim developed a special interest in Yiddish literature. After teaching himself the language, he edited and translated such anthologies as Yenne Velt: The Great Works of Jewish Fantasy and Occult (1976), The Shtetl (1979), and The Golem (2006). His other translations include Nobel Prize winner Elias Canetti’s memoir, The Torch in My Ear (1979), Manès Sperber’s novel, God’s Water Carriers (1987), Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha (1999), and The Complete Short Stories of Marcel Proust (2001). His version of Tahar Ben Jelloun’s novel, With Downcast Eyes (1993), won the French-American Foundation Translation Prize in 1994. Neugroschel was also the recipient of three PEN Translation Awards and the 1998 Guggenheim Fellowship in German Literature. Neugroschel lived a full and memorable life, and truly embodied the irrepressible spirit of the arts.