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Auslander, Joseph (11 October 1897–22 June 1965), poet, editor, and translator, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Louis Auslander and Martha Asyueck. He attended Columbia University from 1914 to 1915, then transferred to Harvard, receiving his B.A. in 1917. In 1919 he became an instructor in English at Harvard. He pursued graduate studies there until 1924, with the interruption of one year (1921–1922) at the Sorbonne in Paris, where he went on a Parker Traveling Fellowship. His poetry began to appear in national magazines in 1919, and his first volume, ...

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Blackburn, Paul (24 November 1926–13 September 1971), poet and translator, was born in Saint Albans, Vermont, the son of William Blackburn and Frances Frost, a poet and novelist. Blackburn’s parents separated in 1930. His father left for California; his mother pursued a literary career, eventually settling in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Blackburn was left in the care of his strict maternal grandparents. His grandmother required little pretext for whipping him regularly, and his grandfather, who worked for the railroad, was away from home for long stretches at a time. In late poems such as “My Sainted,” he reveals his bitterness about his early childhood....

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Brickman, William Wolfgang (30 June 1913–22 June 1986), scholar of the history of education and of comparative education, was born in New York City, the son of David Shalom Brickman, a cutter in the clothing industry, and Chaya Sarah Shaber. After attending Jewish religious elementary and secondary schools in New York City, Brickman entered the City College of New York, where he earned a B.A. in education in 1934 and an M.S. in education in 1935. He received a Ph.D. in education, with a dissertation on Hermann Lietz, an early twentieth-century German educational reformer, from New York University (NYU) in 1938....

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Ciardi, John (24 June 1916–30 March 1986), poet-translator, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Carminantonio Ciardi, an insurance premium collector, and Concetta Di Benedictis. Ciardi was delivered by a midwife at his parents’ home in Boston’s Little Italy. Three years later his father died in an automobile accident, and his mother moved her family seven miles away to Medford, where the poet grew up across the street from the Mystic River. After high school, he went to Bates College in Maine for a year and a half before transferring to Tufts College in Medford for financial reasons. He majored in English and learned poetry from John Holmes, himself an accomplished poet-teacher, who became a surrogate father for Ciardi. He graduated with honors in 1938 and went to the University of Michigan to study poetry with Roy Cowden. There he won the Avery Hopwood Poetry Award in 1939, the same year he received an M.A. in English....

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Dabney, Richard (1787– November 1825), poet, critic, and translator, was born in Louisa County, Virginia, the son of Samuel Dabney, a planter of modest means, and Jane Meriwether, aunt of the explorer Meriwether Lewis. Richard did not attend college, but at sixteen he took eagerly to languages at a Latin and Greek school and before he was twenty was invited to become an assistant Latin and Greek teacher at a Richmond academy. It is not known where Dabney learned Italian and French. His precocious assimilation of literature in four languages is remarkable in light of his scant formal education....

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Fenollosa, Ernest Francisco (18 February 1853–21 September 1908), educator, poet, and Orientalist, was born in Salem, Massachusetts, the son of Manuel Francisco Ciriaco Fenollosa, a Spanish musician who had come to the United States in 1838, and Mary Silsbee, who died when Ernest was eleven. After attending Salem High School, the sensitive and reserved young man entered Harvard College, where he studied with ...

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Fitts, Dudley (28 April 1903–10 July 1968), translator and poet, was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts, the son of Dudley Thomas Fitts, a bookkeeper, and Edith Kimball Eaton. He attended Harvard University, where he edited the Harvard Advocate; he graduated in 1925. His first serious poems appeared in 1930 in ...

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Gode-von Aesch, Alexander (30 October 1906–10 August 1970), linguist, translator, and publisher, was born Alexander Gottfried Friedrich Gode-von Aesch in Bremen, Germany, the son of Heinrich Gode, a businessman, and Anna von Aesch. With a German father and a Swiss mother, Alexander Gode, as he was most often known, was multilingual from childhood and studied language at the Universities of Vienna and Paris. He immigrated to the United States in 1927 to pursue his education further and became a citizen in 1939. He obtained a master of arts degree in languages at Columbia University in New York City in 1929 and a doctorate of philosophy in Germanic studies there ten years later. He married Johanna Roeser in 1930; the couple had two children. After his wife's death in 1963 he married Janet Alison Livermore, with whom he also had two children....

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Hearn, Lafcadio (27 June 1850–26 September 1904), journalist and author, was born on the Greek island of Leucadia (also known as Santa Maura), the son of Charles Bush Hearn, an Irish surgeon in the British army, and Rosa Antonia Cassimati. He moved to Dublin with his mother in July 1852 to join his father’s relatives. His mother returned to Greece two years later, leaving her son in the custody of Sarah Brenane, a great-aunt. A convert to Catholicism, she enrolled her charge in the Institution Ecclésiastique, a church school near Rouen, France, in 1862, and in St. Cuthbert’s College, a Catholic boys’ school near Durham, England, in 1863. There young Hearn suffered a disfiguring injury when a knotted rope struck him in the face and destroyed the vision in his left eye. He was withdrawn from school in October 1867 when his great-aunt could no longer pay his fees, and after boarding in London for a few lonely months he was given passage money to America....

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Joseph Heco. As pictured in Hutching's California Magazine, c. 1856–1860. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-93843).

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Heco, Joseph (1837–1897), government interpreter, merchant, and publisher, was born Hamada Hikozō in the village of Komiya, near Kobe, Japan, on the eastern shore of the Inland Sea, the second son of a well-to-do farmer. After his father’s death his mother remarried, to a sea captain who adopted him. While on what should have been a brief internal voyage in late 1850, his ship was blown into the Pacific. He and sixteen other persons, after drifting for fifty-two days, were picked up by a U.S. ship that landed at San Francisco in February 1851. The American authorities, planning for Commodore ...

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Humphries, Rolfe (20 November 1894–22 April 1969), poet and translator, was born George Rolfe Humphries in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of John Henry Humphries, a professional baseball player turned high school principal, and Florence Yost, an English teacher. Humphries was educated at home and in the public schools of Towanda, Pennsylvania. By the time he entered Amherst College in 1911, he knew Latin, Greek, German, and French and had read widely in English literature. He graduated a year early from Amherst, in 1914 (retaining his class of 1915 identity) and took a position teaching Latin and coaching football and baseball at the Potter School in San Francisco. Soon he purchased land on Lake Tahoe and opened a summer camp, which he ran until the depression. Humphries was drafted into the army in September 1917 but did not see service overseas. Discharged with the rank of first lieutenant in December 1918, he returned to the Potter School, joined a poetry workshop taught by ...

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Jakobson, Roman Osipovich (11 October 1896–18 July 1982), linguist, literary historian, and theorist, was born in Moscow, Russia, the son of Jewish parents, Osip Jakobson, a chemical engineer and industrialist, and Anna Volpert. Jakobson’s high school education was at the Lazarev Institute of Oriental Languages in Moscow, where he obtained his diploma with silver medal in 1914. During this period he started to collect and study Russian folklore, legends, and choral and ritual songs. In 1915, together with six other students, Jakobson founded the Moscow Linguistic Circle, the purpose of which was to elucidate linguistic problems of poetics, folklore, and ethnology. He served as president until 1920. In 1917 he spent a semester at Petersburg University, studying Sanskrit. In 1918 he received his master’s degree and was appointed research associate at Moscow University, a position he held until 1920....

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Owen J. Lattimore Owen J. Lattimore, testifying before a Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee, with his attorney, Abe Fortas [left], 1950. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-104489).

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Lattimore, Owen (29 July 1900–31 May 1989), columnist and Asia expert, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of David Lattimore, a professor of modern languages, and Margaret Barnes. In 1901 the family moved to Shanghai, where Lattimore’s father taught in Chinese government schools. In 1912 Lattimore’s mother took the children to study in Switzerland. When World War I broke out, Lattimore went to school in England for five years but failed to win a scholarship to Oxford....

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Lattimore, Richmond Alexander (06 May 1906–26 February 1984), classicist, translator, and poet, was born in Paotingfu, China, the son of David Lattimore and Margaret Barnes, teachers. In 1920 Lattimore came to the United States with his parents from China, where his parents had gone to teach. After attending high school, he received his A.B. from Dartmouth College in 1926 and his M.A. from the University of Illinois in 1927, becoming an assistant professor at Wabash College. He won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford in 1929, where he earned a First in Greats in 1932, then returned to Illinois and received his Ph.D. in 1935. In 1934 he was made a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, where he met Alice Bockstahler, whom he married the following year. They had two children. Lattimore became an assistant professor at Bryn Mawr College where he remained until his retirement, except for military service in World War II (1943–1946) and various visiting fellowships and professorships. He was a Fulbright scholar in Greece in 1951–1952, an award that was won despite the fact that at this time his older brother, ...

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Lewisohn, Ludwig (30 May 1883–31 December 1955), writer and translator, was born to acculturated Jewish parents, Minna Eloesser and Jacques Lewisohn, in Berlin. His father, a ne’er-do-well businessman, settled the family in a South Carolina village, where Minna Lewisohn had relatives, in 1890. But Lewisohn spent most of his childhood in Charleston where, he recalled, he strove to “forget his Jewish and his German past” and be accepted as “an American, a Southerner, and a Christian.” Graduating in 1901 from the College of Charleston with both a B.A. and an M.A., he began graduate studies in English literature at Columbia University in New York City, where in 1903 he earned another M.A. In New York he began to affirm his German and, ultimately, his Jewish origins. He was plagued by the anti-Semitism and xenophobia of American university life at that time, but as instructor of German at the University of Wisconsin (1910–1911) and subsequently as professor of German language and literature at Ohio State University (1911–1919) he established his credentials as a prime interpreter of modern European, especially German, literature....

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Lin Yutang Photograph by Carl Van Vechten, 1939. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LOT 12735, no. 1218 P&P).

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Lin Yutang (10 October 1895–26 March 1976), novelist, linguist, and philosopher, was born Lin Ho-lok in Amoy, Fukien Province, China, the son of Lin Chi-shing, a Presbyterian minister, and Young Shun-min. At age seventeen, he changed his given name, meaning peaceful and happy, to Yutang, meaning elegant language, and came to be known as Lin Yutang. Lin attended English-language schools and graduated from St. John’s University, a private western-oriented institution in Shanghai, in 1916. In the same year he became a teacher at Tsing Hua College in Peking. In January 1919 he married Liu Tsui-fung, a wealthy classmate of his sister; eventually the union produced three children. In the fall of 1919 he embarked with his wife to study comparative literature at Harvard....

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Lord, Albert Bates (15 September 1912–29 July 1991), folklorist, Slavist, and comparatist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Robert Whiting Lord, a manufacturer of candy, and Corinne Bates Lord. After his high school years at Boston Public Latin School, he entered Harvard University, earning an A.B. in classics (cum laude, 1934) and an M.A. (1936) and Ph.D. (1949) in comparative literature, with graduate specialties in medieval English, ancient Greek, and Serbo-Croatian. On 24 August 1950 he married Mary Louise Carlson, later the long-time chair of Classics at Connecticut College, with whom he had two children: Nathan Eliot Lord, a high school English teacher, and Mark Edwards Lord, a potter and woodworker....