Robert Fitzgerald (1910-1985). Courtesy the Library of Congress.

Robert Stuart Fitzgerald (October 12, 1910 - January 16, 1985) was an American poet, literary critic, and translator best known as a translator of ancient Greek and Latin. His translations of Greek classics "became standard works for a generation of scholars and students."[1]


Fitzgerald grew up in Springfield, Illinois and graduated from The Choate School (now Choate Rosemary Hall) in Wallingford, Connecticut. He entered Harvard University in 1929, and in 1931 a number of his poems were published in Poetry magazine.

After graduating from Harvard in 1933 he became a reporter for the New York Herald Tribune for a year. Later he worked several years for TIME magazine,[1] as mentioned by Whittaker Chambers in his 1952 memoir, Witness.[2]

In World War II, Fitzgeald served in the U.S. Navy in Guam and Pearl Harbor. Later he worked as an instructor at Sarah Lawrence College and Princeton University, and as poetry editor of The New Republic. He succeeded Archibald MacLeish as Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory Emeritus at Harvard in 1965, and served until his retirement in 1981.[1]

He was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. From 1984 to 1985 he was Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, a position now known as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, the U.S. equivalent of a national poet laureate. In 1984 Fitzgerald received a L.H.D. from Bates College.[3]

Fitzgerald is widely known as one of the most poetic translators into the English language. He also served as literary executor to Flannery O'Connor, who was a boarder at his home in Redding, Connecticut, from 1949 to 1951. Fitzgerald's wife at the time, Sally Fitzgerald, compiled O'Connor's essays and letters after O'Connor's death. Benedict Fitzgerald is the son of Robert and Sally.[4]

Fitzgerald was married three times. He later moved to Hamden, Connecticut, where he died at his home after a long illness.[1]



  • Poems. Arrow Editions, 1935.
  • A Wreath for the Sea. New Directions, 1943.
  • In the Rose of Time. New Directions, 1956.
  • Spring Shade. New Directions, 1972.


  • Enlarging the Change: The Princeton Seminars in Literary Criticism, 1949-1951. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1985.
  • The Third Kind of Knowledge: Memoirs and selected writings (edited by Penelope Laurans Fitzgerald). New York: New Directions, 1993.


  • Euripides, Alcestis (with Dudley Fitts). Harcourt, 1936.
  • Sophocles, Antigone (with Dudley Fitts). Harcourt, 1939.
  • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus. Harcourt, 1941.
  • Sophocles, Oedipus Rex (with Dudley Fitts). Harcourt, 1949.
  • St. John Perse, Chronique. Pantheon, 1960.
  • Homer, The Odyssey. Doubleday, 1961.
  • St. John Perse, Birds. Pantheon, 1966.
  • Homer, The Iliad. Doubleday, 1974.
  • Virgil, The Aeneid. New York: Random House, 1983.


  • James Agee, The Collected Poems of James Agee. Houghton, 1968.
  • James Agee, The Collected Short Prose of James Agee, Houghton, 1968.
  • Flannery O'Connor, Mystery and Manners (with Sally Fitzgerald). New York: Farrar, Straus, 1969.

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy the Poetry Foundation.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Mitgang, Herbert, "Robert Fitzgerald, 74, poet who translated the classics," New York Times, January 17, 1975.
  2. [|Chambers, Whittaker] (1952). Witness. New York: Random House. p. 478. ISBN 52-5149. 
  5. Robert Fitzgerald 1910-1985, Poetry Foundation, Web, June 26, 2012.

External linksEdit

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