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Roche, Paul 1916-2007 (Donald Robert Paul Roche)

Roche, Paul 1916-2007 (Donald Robert Paul Roche)


See index for CA sketch: Born September 25, 1916, in Mussoorie, India; died of cancer, October 30, 2007, in Sóller, Majorca, Spain. Educator, poet, translator, and novelist. Roche lived an unconventional life by almost any standards. Educated at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, he was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1943. He was reportedly still a practicing curate when he established a close (some claim an intimate) relationship with painter Duncan Grant, one that lasted for more than thirty years. At some point during that time, Roche left the priesthood and became involved with various women, eventually marrying an American woman and moving to the United States, where he lived for several years. Through his relationship with Grant, who has been called a founder of the avant-garde circle of artists and writers known as the Bloomsbury Group, Roche socialized with literary giants such as Virginia Woolf, and through a teaching post in New England in the late 1950s, he made the acquaintance of author Sylvia Plath, her husband, the poet Ted Hughes, and others. These literary connections do not often figure obviously or directly in Roche's own writings, but he was surrounded by creativity, if not genius, for much of his adult life. As a writer, Roche was best known for his poetry, publishing at least a dozen collections, including All Things Considered (1966) and To Tell the Truth (1967). His fiction includes the novels O Pale Galilean! (1954) and Vessel of Dishonour (1962). Roche was also, perhaps even more prominently, a translator of Greek classics by Sophocles, Aeschylus, Sappho, and others, and he wrote the screenplay for the feature film Oedipus the King (1967), starring Orson Welles, Christopher Plummer, and Lili Palmer. During his residence in the United States, Roche taught briefly at Smith College, California Institute for the Arts, Emory and Henry University, and the University of Notre Dame, among other institutions, but his primary occupation was always that of translator and author.



Contemporary Poets, 7th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2001.


New York Times, November 25, 2007, p. A33.

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