Alumnus Was García Márquez’s Renowned Translator

In 1982, the same year that Gabriel García Márquez, who died Thursday, April 17, at the age of 87, received the Nobel Prize in Literature, Gregory Rabassa ’44, his English translator, was given an honorary degree by his alma mater—Dartmouth College.

García Márquez’s praise of Rabassa’s work—that he preferred the English translation of One Hundred Years of Solitude to the original Spanish—is widely reported. Speaking with Dartmouth Now on April 18, Rabassa waved away his own credit for that accolade. “That’s more of a compliment to the English language,” he says.

Rabassa’s translation of the Colombian novelist’s El otoño del patriarca as The Autumn of the Patriarch won the 1976 PEN Translation Prize.

García Márquez says Rabassa “could tell a tale. That’s what he brought back to modern literature: the power of fairy tales, of the epic.”