David Bellos

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David Bellos (born 1945) is an English-born translator and biographer. Bellos is Meredith Howland Pyne Professor of French Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature at Princeton University in the United States.[1] He is also director of Princeton's Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication.

Bellos' research topics have included Balzac and Georges Perec. Bellos published an award-winning translation of Perec's most famous novel, Life A User's Manual, in 1987. He won the first Man Booker International Prize for translation in 2005 for his translations of works by Albanian author Ismail Kadare, despite not speaking Albanian; the translations were done from previous French translations.[2]

Bellos has written a number of award-winning literary biographies and an introduction to translation studies, Is That a Fish in Your Ear? Translation and The Meaning of Everything (2011).[3]

He appears in The Magnificent Tati, a documentary about the filmmaker Jacques Tati.[4]

He was awarded the rank of Officier in the Ordre national des Arts et des Lettres in 2015.

Bellos is an honorary member of IAPTI.




  • Georges Perec. A Life in Words, 1993. (Prix Goncourt de la biographie). French edition, 1994. Japanese edition, 2014. Hebrew edition, 2015.
  • Jacques Tati. His Life and Art, 1999. French edition, 2002
  • Romain Gary. A Tall Story, Harvill Secker, November 2010

Other books[edit]

  • Balzac Criticism in France, 1850–1900. The Making of a Reputation. Oxford, 1976
  • La Cousine Bette. A Critical Guide. London, 1981
  • Old Goriot (Landmarks of World Literature). Cambridge, 1987.
  • Is That a Fish in Your Ear? Translation and the Meaning of Everything. London and New York, 2011. Paperback edition, 2012.
    French translation by Daniel Loayza as Le poisson & le bananier, Flammarion, 2012. Spanish translation by Vicente Campos, as Un Pez en la higuera. Ariel, 2012. German translation by Silvia Morawetz as Was macht der Fisch in meinem Ohr?, Eichborn, 2013

•"The Novel of the Century. The Extraordinary Advenure of Les Misérables". London, Penguin, and New York, Farrar Straus Giroux, forthcoming 2017


  1. ^ David Bellos at Princeton University
  2. ^ "The Englishing of Ismail Kadare" by David Bellos, complete review Quarterly, vol. VI, issue 2 – May 2005
  3. ^ Is That A Fish In Your Ear?: Translation and the Meaning of Everything at Janklow & Nesbit
  4. ^ The Magnificent Tati at the Internet Movie Database

External links[edit]