Stiller was born in Warsaw, Poland, to Polish parents and spent his early childhood in what is now Belarus. His father was of Jewish-Austrian descent.
Most of Stiller's publications, including some 300 books, are translations of prose and poetry from thirty-odd languages, chiefly English, German, Russian and Malay, as well as French, Spanish, Middle High German, Old English, Old Norse, Icelandic, Swedish, Dutch, Yiddish, Hebrew, Latin, Czech, Slovak, Ukrainian, Lusatian, Sanskrit, Chinese and others. His translations are often accompanied by extensive critical essays and commentaries.
Stiller has done literary research (six years altogether) in England, Iceland, Denmark, Germany, France, Netherlands, Russia, Ukraine, United States, Central Asia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.
He is regarded as one of Poland's great translators and leading literary critics. In 2003 he was awarded the Knight's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta for his work in inter-cultural contacts with Asia.
Among Stiller's literary oeuvre, of particular note is his version of Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, in which he has succeeded in conveying at once both the sense and the sound of the original, despite all that novel's formal literary complexities.
Shortly after the 2006 death of his old friend and fellow-author, Stanisław Lem, of science-fiction fame, Stiller published an intriguing 131-page volume of reminiscences — Lemie! po co umarłeś? Opowieść w reminiscencjach (Lem, What Did You Die For? A Story in Reminiscences), Kraków, vis-à-vis/etiuda, 2006.
He has been awarded Poland's "Gloria Artis" decoration.
Translations from English
Stiller has translated, into Polish, works by Peter Cheyney, Frank Norris, Vachel Lindsay, Lewis Carroll, Eric Hoffer, Ayn Rand, John le Carré, Edward Lear, Farley Mowat, Anthony Hope, Anthony Burgess, David Morrell, Vladimir Nabokov, Robert Alley, Herman Wouk, Hilaire Belloc, Ian Fleming, John Lennon, Lynn Barber, Angel Smith, Joshua Trachtenberg, Todd Strasser, Ron Hansen, Wesley O. Hagood, Ronald Brownrigg, William Manchester, James Webb[disambiguation needed] and Andrew Holmes.
Translations from German
German authors translated by Stiller into Polish include Johannes R. Becher, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Heinrich Heine, Bertolt Brecht, Ludwig Achim von Arnim, Clemens Brentano, Rainer Bũttner, Siegfried Rabe, the Brothers Grimm, Horst Herrmann, Hans Hellmut Kirst, Esther Vilar, Wilhelmine Schrõder-Devrient, Micha Josef Bin Gorion (Micha Josef Berdyczewski), Karlheinz Deschner, Manfred Lurker, Wolfgang Kossak, Eugen Drewermann, Henriette von Schirach, Wilhelm Busch, Wolfgang Ott and Lothar-Günther Buchheim.
Translations from other languages