American Translators: Dudley Fitts

December 18, 2020

By Nancy Kuhl

Dudley Fitts

Born in Boston in 1903, Dudley Fitts was a teacher, critic, poet, and translator. He attended Harvard University, where he edited the Harvard Advocate. He taught at the Choate School 1926–1941 and at Phillips Academy at Andover 1941–1968. He and Robert Fitzgerald, his former student at Choate, published translations of Alcestis of Euripides (1936), Antigone of Sophocles (1939), Oedipus Rex (1949), and The Oedipus Cycle (1949).

The Dudley Fitts Papers consist chiefly of material relating to the production of the first American edition of An Anthology of Contemporary Latin-American Poetry (New Directions, 1942). Fitts served as editor for Spanish poetry in the bilingual anthology, selecting material and translators, and supervising and editing translations. The papers include both correspondence and writings, the bulk of which date from 1941 to 1943. There are letters with contributing authors and translators, representatives of the sponsoring agency, the Committee on Publications of the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, and the publisher. The collection also includes typescript copies of poems, drafts of translations.

In addition to the material relating to the anthology, there are letters from other writers, concerning literary matters, and drafts and proofs of translations by Fitts of several classical texts.

Dudley Fitts Papers Collection Guide

1. Dudley Fitts in Context
Translations and Anthologies

An Anthology of Contemporary Latin-American Poetry, ed. Dudley Fitts
Orbis record (some online access may be available)
Call Number: YCAL MSS 296, Boxes 4-9 (request)

Alcestis (VIEW)
Call Number: YCAL MSS 296, Box 10, Folder 212 (request)

Translations of Greek Classics (The Frogs) (VIEW)
Call Number: YCAL MSS 296, Box 10, folder 221 (request)

II. Correspondence

Langston Hughes to DF (VIEW)
Note: 25 Oct 1941; 8 May 1942; 18 June 1942; n.d. “Line by line translation”
Call Number: YCAL MSS 296, Box 1, folder 29 (request)

Fitts to Rolfe Humphries (VIEW)
Note: 15 July 1941; 8 Dec 1941; 13 Dec 1941; 30 July 1941; 10 December 1941; 17 December 1941

Call Number: YCAL MSS 296, Box 1, folder 31 (request)

Correspondence with James Laughlin (VIEW)
Call Number: YCAL MSS 296, Box 1 Folder 35 (request)

Mary Barnard | Robert Fitzgerald | Langston Hughes

Ezra Pound | Louis Zukofsky

The Practice of Literary Translation: Resources