Dudley Fitts

1903 –

Poet, educator, critic, and translator Dudley Fitts was born on April 28, 1903, in Boston to Edith Kimball Eaton Fitts and Dudley Thomas Fitts. Fitts attended Harvard University, where he earned a BA in 1925. While at Harvard, Fitts edited The Harvard Advocate, where he published his first works. Later in life, he attended Columbia University, where he earned an LLD in 1968. 

Fitts was best known for his translations from ancient Greek to English, though he also translated Latin, Spanish, and Latin American works into English. His translations include the ancient Greek plays The Antigone of Sophocles (Harcourt, Brace, 1939) and The Alcestis of Euripides, which was first published in London in 1936, then at Harcourt, Brace in 1946. Both plays were translated with Robert Fitzgerald and were first performed on the radio. Fitts also translated the plays of Aristophanes, as well as More Poems from the Palatine Anthology in English Paraphrase (New Directions, 1941) and One Hundred Poems from the Palatine Anthology in English Paraphrase (New Directions, 1938).

In 1937, New Directions Press released Fitts’s own collection of poetry, Poems 1929–1936 (1937).

Fitts taught English at The Choate School (now, Choate Rosemary Hall) from 1926 to 1941, then at Phillips Academy from 1941 to 1968. Fitts also frequently served as a prize judge, particularly for the Yale Series of Younger Poets (1960–68), and as a Chancellor for the Academy of American Poets from 1967–68. 

Dudley Fitts died in Lawrence, Massachusetts, on July 10, 1968.