Obituary, Brilliant Translator Richard Howard Has Passed Away At Age 92
Richard Howard, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet whose translations brought the work of Roland Barthes, Alain Robbe-Grillet, and dozens of other French writers to an Anglophone audience, died on Thursday in Manhattan. He was 92 years old at the time. David Alexander, his husband, said the cause was dementia problems.
In words spoken by people as diverse as Sir Walter Scott, John Ruskin, and Edith Wharton, Mr. Howard’s intellectually finespun verse, packed with arcane historical references, frequently addressed the reader directly as “you.” Mr.
Howard’s verse form, which is most closely associated with Robert Browning, resurfaced as a remarkably nimble vehicle in his hands, allowing him to weave his way through a welter of poetic subjects. His words resonated and bounced throughout the room. Historical speakers engaged in a discussion in his 1974 collection “Two-Part Inventions.”
He imagined the reactions of prominent writers to Hollywood blockbusters in the series “The Masters on the Movies,” from his 2002 book “Talking Cures,” such as Henry James to “Now, Voyager,” and Rudyard Kipling to “King Kong.”