Annual Richard Maxwell Prize

April 14, 2023

The Richard Maxwell Prize for Translation and Translation Studies   

A $500 prize, open to any undergraduate student in Yale College, shall be awarded annually to the best Literary Translation or to the best essay in Translation Studies.  “Literary Translation” encompasses all genres, so long as the chosen work is deemed substantial, while “Translation Studies” is understood to include theoretical and historical questions involving language, culture, and medium. Submissions that combine actual translation and reflections on issues raised or exemplified by the process are welcome.  Submissions must include: (1) a cover letter with basic information about the student’s studies/major and about the context in which the essay/translation was written; (2) a translator’s introduction describing the intellectual and historical context of the translated text, along with some consideration of its technical features; (3) a copy of the translated text(s) in the original language, as an appendix to your translation; (4) annotation, if relevant, for literary translations.   


Please submit a PDF file for consideration to (and cc’d to by April 28, 2023, 5 p.m. The prize will be announced along with the other Comparative Literature prizes, and a celebration of the prizewinners will commemorate the occasion. 


The Richard Maxwell prize for Translation and Translation Studies commemorates the scholarly and pedagogical legacy of Richard Maxwell (1948–2010), an exceptionally wide-ranging undergraduate teacher, scholar and critic. He was an historian of the novel, of visual culture, and of urban life, and a critic of poetry and film.  During his final illness he dictated an experimental novel about architectural, literary, and film life in 1950s Los Angeles. Richard Maxwell believed deeply in the discipline of Comparative Literature and the ideal of world literature, and he championed his Yale students as aspiring translators, critics, and writers.

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