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Barbara Reynolds, RIP

The recent death of Barbara Reynolds is worth some mention here.

Barbara Reynolds was the goddaughter of Dorothy Sayers and a formidable scholar of the Italian language. For more than 30 years she was chief executive and general editor of the Cambridge Italian Dictionary.

After Sayers' own untimely death in 1957 it was Reynolds who put together the available materials and finished the work on the Sayers' translation of Paradiso, the third volume of Dante's Commedia. Sayers' translation of Inferno had appeared in 1949, of Purgatorio in 1955. The Sayers/Reynolds translation of Paradiso came out in 1962.

Despite huge differences in every sort of respect, I'm a great admirer of the Anglo-Catholic intellects of the first half of the 20th century, the so-called "Inklings" and their circle included, and Sayers perhaps most of all in that crowd, not just for her Dante translation (and the commentaries) but for the detective fiction and the width of her mind.

Reynolds conducted herself for decades after the work on the Paradiso was done as a fit heir to Sayers' legacy, publishing a biography and editing an edition of Sayers' letters.   

Alas, she died on April 29th of this year. It was hardly a life cut short. She passed the one-century mark on June 13th 2014.

Still ... fare well.


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