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Rachel Dalven


DALVEN, RACHEL (1905–1992), translator from Greek to English and historian of the Jews of Ioannina, Greece, where she lived from the age of five until early adulthood and which was the community of origin of her family. She translated the Greek poet Constantine Cavafy (Complete Poems of Cavafy, 1961) into English when he was unknown. She also translated her cousin Yosef Eliyia, the noted Greek Jewish poet from Ioannina. Her translations were first included in her anthology Modern Greek Poetry (1949, 1971). In 1977, she published her translation of the poet Yannis Ritsos, The Fourth Dimension.

Dalven received her Ph.D. from New York University and taught drama and English literature at Ladycliff College in Highland Falls, New York. She edited the academic journal The Sephardic Scholar at Yeshiva University and devoted over six decades of her life to the research of the Jews of Ioannina, Greece, the largest remaining Romaniote Judeo-Greek community of the 20th century. In 1990 she published The Jews of Ioannina with Cadmus Press of Philadelphia. She wrote numerous articles on the traditions, culture, and history of Ioanniote Jewry. She also wrote a biography of Anna Comnena and numerous plays, including Our Kind of People on Greek-Jewish immigrants in the United States. In 1973 she was the recipient of the Gold Key Award of the Columbia Scholastic Press Association of the Graduate School of Journalism of Columbia University.

Sources:S. Bowman, "Rachel Dalven: An Appreciation," in: Bulletin of Judaeo-Greek Studies, 11 (Winter 1992), 34.

[Yitzchak Kerem (2nd ed.)]

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