Richard Pevear was born in Boston, grew up on Long Island, and attended Allegheny College (B.A. 1964) and the University of Virginia (M.A. 1965). After a stint as a college teacher, he moved to the Maine coast and eventually to New York City, where he worked as a freelance writer, editor, and translator, and also as a cabinetmaker.
Pevear has published two collections of poetry, many essays and reviews, and some thirty books translated from French, Italian, and Russian. His Russian translations, done in collaboration with his wife, Larissa Volokhonsky, include works by Leo Tolstoy, Mikhail Bulgakov, Nikolai Gogol, Anton Chekhov, Boris Pasternak, and Fyodor Dostoevsky. Their translation of Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov received the PEN Translation Prize for 1991; their translation of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina was awarded the same prize in 2002; and in 2006 they were awarded the first Efim Etkind International Translation Prize by the European Graduate School of St. Petersburg. In 2003 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Allegheny College.
Pevear joined the Comparative Literature department of the American University of Paris in 1998, was made a Distinguished Professor in 2007, and is now a Distinguished Professor Emeritus. He and his wife continue to translate (they are presently finishing a large collection of stories by Nikolai Leskov), and in a new departure they have begun to collaborate with the American playwright/director Richard Nelson on stage versions of classic Russian plays.
Pevear can be reached by email at: rpevear AT gmail.com.