Venuti, Lawrence 1953–

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Venuti, Lawrence 1953–

(Lawrence Michael Venuti)

PERSONAL: Born February 9, 1953, in Philadelphia, PA; son of Michael (an upholsterer) and Lucille (a seamstress; maiden name, Rutigliano) Venuti; married Melanie Sabato, 1976 (divorced 1986); married Lindsay Davies, 1988; children: Gemma Leigh, Julius David. Ethnicity: Italian-American. Education: Temple University, B.A., 1974; Columbia University, Ph.D., 1980.

ADDRESSES: Office—Department of English, Temple University, Anderson Hall, 10th Floor (022-29), 1114 W. Berks St., Philadelphia, PA 19122-6090. E-mail[email protected].

CAREER: Educator, translator, editor, and writer. Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, assistant professor, 1980–87, associate professor, 1987–92, professor of English, 1993–, director of creative writing program, 1990–92, director of graduate studies, 1992–97. Adjunct assistant professor of writing at College of New Rochelle, 1979; adjunct lecturer in English at Manhattan Community College, 1979–80; adjunct professor of humanities at Cooper Union, 1980; adjunct assistant professor of English at Iona College, 1980; University of Iowa, Ida A. Beam Visiting Professor, 2001. Served on PEN judiciary committee for Renato Poggioli Award, 1984, and for PEN Book-of-the-Month-Club Translation Award, 1991; member of the judiciary committee for the translator's fellowship competition, National Endowment for the Arts, 1988–90, 1993, and 2001; judge of the Ezra Pound Prize for Literary Translation, University of Pennsylvania, 1992; member of the judiciary committee, Scaglione Prize for the Translation of a Literary Work, Modern Language Association of America, 1998–2000; member of the editorial board, Texts and Translations, Modern Language Association, 2005–09. Lecturer at various universities, including Boston University, Bryn Mawr College, Carnegie Mellon University, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Columbia University, Johannes Gutenberg University, Kent State University, New York University, Oberlin College, Oxford University, Princeton University, State University of New York at Binghampton, Universidad de São Paulo, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, University of Barcelona, University of Bologna, University of California at Santa Barbara, University of Chicago, University of Innsbruck, University of Pennsylvania, University of Rome La Sapienza, and University of Warwick; John Benjamins Publishing Company, International Advisory Board member, Benjamins Translation Library, 1999–.

MEMBER: International PEN (member, translation committee, 1983–), Modern Language Association of America (founding member, executive committee for the discussion group on translation, 1993), American Literary Translators Association.

AWARDS, HONORS: Renato Poggioli Award, International PEN American Center, 1980, for translation of Delirium from the Italian; National Endowment for the Arts translator's fellowship and Columbia University Translation Center Award, both 1983, both for Restless Nights: Selected Stories of Dino Buzzati; Pre-mio di cultura from the Italian government, 1983, for translations; National Endowment for the Humanities translation grant, 1988, for Fantastic Tales; translator's fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts, 1998, for Breath: Poems and Letters; U.S. speaker and specialist grant, U.S. Information Agency, Cairo University, 1998; CETRA professorship in translation studies, Centre for Research in Translation, Communication, and Cultures, Catholic University, Leuven, 1998; Fulbright Senior Lectureship in Translation Studies, Faculty of Translation and Interpreting, Universitat de Vic, 1999.


(Translator) Barbara Alberti, Delirium, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 1980.

(Translator) Aldo Rossi, A Scientific Autobiography, MIT Press (Cambridge, MA), 1981.

(Translator) Francesco Alberoni, Falling in Love, Random House (New York, NY), 1983.

(Editor and translator) Dino Buzzati, Restless Nights: Selected Stories of Dino Buzzati, North Point Press (San Francisco, CA), 1983.

(Editor and translator) Dino Buzzati, The Siren: A Selection, North Point Press (San Francisco, CA), 1984.

Our Halycon Dayes: English Prerevolutionary Texts and Postmodern Culture, University of Wisconsin Press (Madison, WI), 1989.

(Editor and translator) I.U. Tarchetti, Fantastic Tales, Mercury House (San Francisco, CA), 1992.

(Editor and contributor) Rethinking Translation: Discourse, Subjectivity, Ideology, Routledge (New York, NY), 1992.

(Translator) I.U. Tarchetti, Passion: A Novel, Mercury House (San Francisco, CA), 1994.

(Editor and translator) Milo De Angelis, Finite Intuition: Selected Poetry and Prose, Sun and Moon Press (Los Angeles, CA), 1995.

The Translator's Invisibility: A History of Translation, Routledge (New York, NY), 1995.

The Scandals of Translation: Towards an Ethics of Difference, Routledge (New York, NY), 1998.

(Editor and contributor) Translation and Minority, St. Jerome Publishing (Manchester, England), 1998.

(Editor and contributor) The Translation Studies Reader, Routledge (New York, NY), 2000.

(Translator) Juan Rodolfo Wilcock, The Temple of Iconoclasts, Mercury House (San Francisco, CA), 2000.

(Editor and translator) Antonio Pozzi, Breath: Poems and Letters, Wesleyan University Press (Middle-town, CT), 2002.

(Editor and translator) Italy: A Traveler's Literary Companion, Whereabouts Press (Berkeley, CA), 2003.

(Translator) Melissa P., 100 Strokes of the Brush before Bed, Black Cat/Grove/Atlantic, 2004.

Translation, Routledge (New York, NY), 2005.

(Translator) Massimo Carlotto, The Goodbye Kiss, Europa Editions (New York, NY), 2006.

(Translator) Massimo Carlotto, Death's Dark Abyss, Europa Editions (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor to Encyclopedia of Translation Studies, 1998, and Oxford Guide to Literature in English Translation, 2000. Contributor of articles and translations to numerous periodicals, including Boundary Two, College English, Conjunctions, Critical Inquiry, Harper's, Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies, New York Times Book Review, Philadelphia Inquirer, Radical Philosophy, SubStance, Testo a fronte (Milan), Textual Practice, Times Literary Supplement and Tri-Quarterly. General editor, Border Lines: Works in Translation, Temple University Press, 1987–95. Member of editorial board, Assays: Critical Approaches to Medieval and Renaissance Texts, 1990–96, The Translator: Studies in Intercultural Communication, 1994–, Reformation: The Journal of the Tyndale Society, 1995–, TTR Traduction, Terminologie, Ré-daction: Études sur le texte et ses transformations, 1999–, and Translation Studies, 2007–.

WORK IN PROGRESS: A textbook for translation research and practice.

SIDELIGHTS: Lawrence Venuti told CA: "The kind of translation I value most is foreignizing, not domesticating, with the understanding that all translation domesticates to a certain extent by assimilating foreign writing to cultural values in the receiving situation. The question is always how to direct the violence that translation enacts on linguistic and cultural differences, a violence that is actual and not merely metaphorical because the translator must dismantle, rearrange, and even remove various features of the foreign text. Because translation wields enormous power in the construction of cultural identities for foreign countries, it seems urgent to direct its violence against receiving cultural values that might exclude foreign cultures for whatever reason, aesthetic, racial, political. I choose to translate Italian literary works that deviate from the canons of British and American cultures (particularly such canons as realism in fiction and confessionalism in poetry), and increasingly I aim to translate these works with strategies that are not canonical, drawing on the wide range of English forms available to writers, using, for example, archaism and slang as well as the current standard dialect. Foreignizing translation can not only question writing in the receiving culture, but enrich it by inspiring the development of new literary forms. This kind of translation is also a way to reimagine the role of the translator at an unpropitious time, when the global hegemony of the English-speaking countries and of English has led to grossly unequal exchanges with foreign cultures, lowering the numbers of translations published in the United States and the United Kingdom and banishing the translator to the margins of British and American cultures. Translators can help to change this situation, but only by taking it into account when they develop their projects."

In his translation of the works of Italian poet Antonio Pozzi for the volume Breath: Poems and Letters, Venuti presents a dual-language edition. As Ray Olson pointed out in Booklist, Venuti notes that "American readers may find Pozzi a kindred spirit to Emily Dickinson" and similar American poets. Italy: A Traveler's Literary Companion includes twenty-three short stories translated by Venuti and intended to provide a literary background commenting on Italy's life and culture. Venuti arranges the stories according to the region they are associated with and includes works by such authors as Alberto Moravia and Natalia Ginzburg. "The themes and styles are wide-ranging," wrote Ravi Shenoy in the Library Journal. Venuti has also translated Massimo Carlotto's The Goodbye Kiss, a crime novel featuring Giorgio Pellegrini, a born killer who double-crosses even his criminal allies. A Kirkus Reviews contributor called it "a nasty, explosive little tome warmly recommended to fans of James M. Cain."



Booklist, September 15, 2002, Ray Olson, review of Breath: Poems and Letters, p. 196; January 1, 2006, Bill Ott, review of The Goodbye Kiss, p. 66.

Choice, April, 1999, C.M. DiFranco, review of The Scandals of Translation: Towards an Ethics of Difference, p. 1453.

Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2005, review of The Goodbye Kiss, p. 1212.

Library Journal, November 1, 2003, Ravi Shenoy, review of Italy: a Traveler's Literary Companion, p. 127.

New Yorker, November 2, 1992, review of Fantastic Tales, p. 119.

New York Times Book Review, October 28, 1984, Seymour Epstein, review of The Siren: A Selection, p. 32; March 14, 1999, Graham Robb, review of The Scandals of Translation, p. 18.

Publishers Weekly, February 14, 2000, review of The Temple of Iconoclasts, p. 173.

Times Literary Supplement, September 6, 1996, Terry Hale, review of The Translator's Invisibility: A History of Translation, p. 8.


Temple University Web site, (April 4, 2006), faculty profile of Venuti.