About the Speakers

David Luft is the Thomas Hart and Mary Jones Horning Professor in the Humanities. He is the author of Eros and Inwardness in Vienna: Weininger, Musil, Doderer (University of Chicago Press, 2003) and Robert Musil and the Crisis of European Culture: 1880–1942 (University of California Press, 1980). He was also co-translator and co-editor with Burton Pike of Precision and Soul, the essays and addresses of Robert Musil (Chicago, 1990). Luft is currently working on another translation edition, Hugo von Hofmannsthal and the Austrian Idea, and writing an intellectual history of German-speaking Austria since the late 18th century: The Austrian Tradition in German Culture.

View Dr. Luft’s lecture.

Visit Dr. Luft’s profile at the Department of History at Oregon State University.


Michael Henry Heim published his first translation, a collection of Chekhov’s letters, in 1972 and has regularly published translations of contemporary and classical prose and drama from a number of languages ever since. He will speak about how he was attracted to translation, how he learned the languages he translates from, and how he chooses the works he translates. He will also discuss the translation methodology he has developed over the years and the ways in which he applies it to the teaching of translation, illustrating his points with frequent quotations from his work.

Heim is Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he has taught for more than thirty-five years. He translates contemporary and classical fiction and drama from the Czech, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Romanian, Russian, and Serbian/Croatian. His work includes Anton Chekhov’s Life and Thought: Selected Letters;The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera; Too Loud a Solitude by Bohumil Hrabal; My Century and Peeling the Onion by Günter Grass; Helping Verbs of the Heart by Peter Esterházy; and Encyclopedia of the Dead by Danilo Kiš. He has recently published new translations of Chekhov’s plays (Modern Library/Random House) and Mann’s Death in Venice (Ecco/HarperCollins) and is currently working on his first translation from the Chinese. At UCLA he teaches a Workshop in Literary Translation and is the adviser of the Babel Study Group for Translation Studies. He has been the recipient of numerous fellowships (Fulbright, Guggenheim) and translation prizes and served on translation juries for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the PEN American Center, and the Goethe-Institut. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

View Dr. Heim’s lecture.

Visit Dr. Heim’s Profile at the Department of Slavic Languages at UCLA.


Lawrence Venuti, Professor of English at Temple University, is a translation theorist and historian as well as a translator from Italian, French, and Catalan. He is the author of The Translator’s Invisibility: A History of Translation (2008) and The Scandals of Translation: Towards an Ethics of Difference (1998) and the editor of The Translation Studies Reader (2004). His translations include the anthology Italy: A Traveler’s Literary Companion (2003), Massimo Carlotto’s crime novel The Goodbye Kiss (2006), and Ernest Farrés’s Edward Hopper: Poems (2009), for which he won the Robert Fagles Translation Prize.

View Dr. Venuti’s profile at the Department of English at Temple University.


Burton Pike is Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature and German at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He has also taught at the University of Hamburg, Germany, Cornell, and Queens and Hunter Colleges of CUNY, and was a Visiting Professor at Yale. He has had a Guggenheim Fellowship, and in 1992 was awarded the Medal of Merit by the City of Klagenfurt, Austria, for his work on Robert Musil. He is a member of the PEN Translation Committee, and until recently a member of the Board of the International Musil Society.

Professor Pike wrote the first critical study of Musil (Cornell, 1961) and has edited and co-translated a number of his works: Robert Musil: Selected Writings (Continuum, 1986), Precision and Soul: Essays and Addresses (Chicago, 1990), and The Man without Qualities (Knopf, 1995), a translation which was awarded a special citation by the PEN/Book of the Month Club Prize. He has contributed chapters on Musil to The New History of German Literature (Harvard, 2004) and The Musil Companion (Camden House, 2007).

Pike translated and wrote the introduction to Goethe’s novel The Sorrows of Young Werther (Random House/Modern Library, 2004) and translated and wrote the introduction to Rilke’s novel The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge (Dalkey Archive Press, 2008). His translations of prose and poetry from German and French have appeared in Fiction, Grand Street, Conjunctions, Chicago Review, and other magazines. He also edited and wrote the introduction to Thomas Mann: Six Early Stories and has published The Image of the City in Modern Literature (Princeton, 1981) and numerous articles on the city.

View Dr. Pike’s lecture.


Suzanne Jill Levine is a leading translator of Latin American literature and professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she directs a Translation Studies doctoral program. Her scholarly and critical works include her award-winning literary biography Manuel Puig and the Spider Woman (FSG and Faber & Faber, 2000) and her groundbreaking book on the poetics of translation, The Subversive Scribe: Translating Latin American Fiction (published in 1991 and reissued this year by Dalkey Archive Press, along with her classic translations of novels by Manuel Puig). Aside from her many volumes of translations of Latin American fiction and poetic works, she has contributed numerous essays and translations of prose and poetry to major anthologies and journals, including the New Yorker. Her many honors include NEA and NEH fellowship and research grants, the first PEN USA West Prize for Literary Translation (1989), the PEN American Center Career Achievement Award (1996), and a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship.  She has just completed a five-volume project as general editor of the works of Borges for Penguin Classics (On Writing, On Mysticism, The Sonnets, On Argentina, Poems of the Night).

Visit Dr. Levine’s profile at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at UCSB.

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