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. He was director of Princeton's Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication from its inception in 2007 until July 1, 2019.
Bellos' research topics have included Honoré de Balzac and Georges Perec. Bellos published a 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.
Bellos has written three literary biographies and an introduction to translation studies, Is That a Fish in Your Ear? Translation and The Meaning of Everything (2011). His most recent book, The Novel of the Century, tells the story of how Victor Hugo wrote Les Misérables.
Awards and honours
- 2005 Man Booker International Prize, for translation of works by Ismail Kadare
- 2015 Officier in the Ordre national des Arts et des Lettres
- 2017 American Library in Paris Book Award winner for The Novel of the Century
- 2019 Howard T. Berhman Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Humanities, Princeton University
- Georges Perec: Life A User's Manual, 1987 (French-American Foundation's translation prize); new edition, 2008
- Georges Perec: W, or the Memory of Childhood, 1988
- Georges Perec: Things: A Story of the Sixties, 1990
- Georges Perec: 53 Days, 1992
- Ismail Kadare: The Pyramid, 1995
- Ismail Kadare:The File on H, 1996
- Georges Ifrah: A Universal History of Numbers, 2000
- Ismail Kadare: Spring Flowers, Spring Frost, 2001
- Fred Vargas: Have Mercy On Us All, 2003
- Fred Vargas: Seeking Whom He May Devour, 2004
- Ismail Kadare: The Successor, 2005
- Ismail Kadare: Agamemnon's Daughter, 2006
- Ismail Kadare: The Siege, 2008
- Hélène Berr: Journal, 2008
- Georges Perec: Thoughts of Sorts, 2009
- Romain Gary: Hocus Bogus, 2010
- Georges Perec: The Art and Craft of Approaching Your Head of Department to Submit a Request for a Raise, 2011
- Georges Simenon: Pietr the Latvian, 2013
- Daniel Anselme: On Leave, 2014
- Ismail Kadare: Twilight of the Eastern Gods, 2014
- Georges Perec: Portrait of a Man, 2014 (UK), 2015 (USA)
- Georges Perec: I Remember, 2014 (USA) (with Philip Terry)
- Paul Fournel, Dear Reader, 2014 (UK)
- Georges Perec. A Life in Words, 1993. (Prix Goncourt de la biographie). French edition, 1994. Japanese edition, 2014. Hebrew edition, 2016. New edition in French, forthcoming 2021; German, Turkish and Chinese translations in progress.
- Jacques Tati. His Life and Art, 1999. French edition, 2002
- Romain Gary. A Tall Story, Harvill Secker, November 2010
- 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. Hebrew translation, Tek Aviv, 1990.
- 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, republished in 2017 as La Traduction dans tous ses états. 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. Russian translation by Natalia Shahova, Azbuka, 2019. Traditional Chinese translation, Rye Field, Taipei, 2019
- The Novel of the Century: The Extraordinary Adventure of Les Misérables. London and New York, 2017. Korean edition, 2018. Japanese edition, 2018. Chinese edition, forthcoming 2019
- David Bellos at Princeton University
- "The Englishing of Ismail Kadare" by David Bellos, complete review Quarterly, vol. VI, issue 2 – May 2005
- Is That A Fish In Your Ear?: Translation and the Meaning of Everything at Janklow & Nesbit
- The Magnificent Tati on IMDb
- "The 2017 American Library in Paris Book Award goes to The Novel of the Century" (Press release). American Library in Paris. Google Drive. 2017-11-03. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
- on YouTube
- "I, Translator" by David Bellos, The New York Times (20 March 2010)
- Review of Georges Perec: A Life in Words by Alice Kaplan
- David Bellos on IMDb
- Review by Michael Hoffmann of Is That a Fish in Your Ear?, The Guardian (22 September 2011)
- "Babbling Barbarians: How Translators Keep Us Civilized: A conversation with David Bellos" Ideas Roadshow, 2013