Babette Deutsch

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Babette Deutsch
Babette Deutsch.jpg
Born(1895-09-22)September 22, 1895
New York City
DiedNovember 13, 1982(1982-11-13) (aged 87)
  • Poet
  • critic
  • translator
  • novelist
Alma materBarnard College
SpouseAvrahm Yarmolinsky
ChildrenAdam Yarmolinsky, Michael Yarmolinsky

Babette Deutsch (September 22, 1895 – November 13, 1982) was an American poet, critic, translator, and novelist.


Born in New York City, the daughter of Michael and Melanie (Fisher) Deutsch, she matriculated from the Ethical Culture School and Barnard College, graduating in 1917 with a B.A. She published poems in magazines such as the North American Review and the New Republic while she was still a student at Barnard.

On April 29, 1921, Deutsch married Avrahm Yarmolinsky, chief of the Slavonic Division of The New York Public Library (1918–1955), also a writer and translator. They had two sons, Adam and Michael.

During the 1940s, 1950s and into the 1960s, Deutsch was teaching at Columbia University, where her students included poet/publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti. In 1946, she received an honorary D. Litt. from Columbia University.

She translated Pushkin's Eugene Onegin into English and also made some of the best English versions of Boris Pasternak's poems. Deutsch's own poems displayed what poet Marianne Moore called "her commanding stature as a poet."[1]


Poetic collections[edit]

  • Banners (1919, George H. Doran)
  • Honey Out of the Rock (1925, B. Appleton)
  • Fire for the Night (1930, Jonathan Cape & Harrison Smith)
  • Epistle to Prometheus (1931, Jonathan Cape & Harrison Smith)
  • One Part Love (1939, Oxford University Press)
  • Take Them, Stranger (1944, Henry Holt)
  • Animal, Vegetable, Mineral (1954, E.P. Dutton)
  • Coming of Age: New & selected poems (1959, Indiana University Press)
  • Collected Poems, 1919–1962 (1963, Indiana University Press)
  • The Collected Poems of Babette Deutsch (1969, Doubleday & Co.)


  • A Brittle Heaven (1926, Greenberg)
  • In Such A Night (1927, Martin Secker)
  • Mask of Silenus: A Novel About Socrates (1933, Simon and Schuster)
  • Rogue's Legacy: A Novel About Francois Villon (1942, Coward-McCann)

Other works[edit]

  • Potable Gold: Some Notes on Poetry and This Age (1929, W. W. Norton)
  • This Modern Poetry (1936, Faber & Faber)
  • Walt Whitman: Builder for America (1941, Julian Messner)
  • The Reader's Shakespeare (1946, Julian Messner)
  • Poetry Handbook (1957, Funk & Wagnalls)
  • Poetry in Our Time (1958, Columbia University Press)
  • Poems – Samuel Taylor Coleridge, ed. Babette Deutsch, illus. Jacques Hnizkovsky (1967, Thomas Cromwell)

As translator[edit]

  • Modern Russian Poetry: an Anthology – trans. by Babette Deutsch and Avrahm Yarmolinsky (1921, John Lane)
  • Contemporary German Poetry: an Anthology – trans. by Babette Deutsch and Avrahm Yarmolinsky (1923, Harcourt Brace & Co.)
  • Eugene Onegin – Alexander Pushkin, illus. Fritz Eichenberg (1939, Heritage Society)
  • Heroes of the Kalevala – illus. Fritz Eichenberg (1940, Julian Messner)
  • Poems from the Book of Hours – Rainer Maria Rilke (1941, New Directions)
  • Selected Poems – Adam Mickiewicz, trans. Babetted Deutsch (alongside W. H. Auden, Louise Bogan, Rolfe Humphries and Robert Hillyer) (1955, The Noonday Press)
  • Two Centuries of Russian Verse – trans. Babette Deutsch and Avrahm Yarmolinsky (1966, Random House)

For juvenile audience[edit]

  • Crocodile – Korney Chukovsky, trans. Babette Deutsch (1931, J. Lippincott)
  • It's A Secret! – illus. Dorothy Bayley (1941, Harper & Bros.)
  • The Welcome – illus. Marc Simont (1942, Harper & Bros.)
  • The Steel Flea – Nikolas Leskov, trans. Babette Deutsch and Avrahm Yarmolinsky, illus. Mstislav Dobufinsky (1943, Harper & Row) – revised 1964, illus. by Janina Domanska
  • Tales of Faraway Folk – trans. Babette Deutsch and Avrahm Yarmolinsky, illus. Irena Lorentowicz (1952, Harper & Row)
  • More Tales of Faraway Folk – trans. Babette Deutsch and Avrahm Yarmolinsky, illus. Janina Domanska (1963, Harper & Row)
  • I Often Wish (1966, Funk & Wagnalls)


  1. ^ Poetry Handbook: A Dictionary of Terms. Funk and Wagnalls, NYC, 1969, notes in the 3rd edition.

External links[edit]