Jiří Levý was born in Košice (1926), eastern Slovakia. His father was a teacher and translator from French. Because of the political turmoil at the outset of World War II, his family moved to Prague. In 1949 Levý graduated in Czech and English at the University of Olomouc, where he subsequently taught English literature, in 1964 moving to Brno University as head of the Department of Czech. He died in 1967, leaving a wife and two children.
Levý is the founder of Czech translation studies. His voluminous České theorie překladu [Czech Theories of Translation] (1957), written at this time, was the first comprehensive history of translation in Czech. It was followed by Umění překladu [The Art of Translation] (1963, 1983, 1998, 2012) and his well-known Translation as a Decision Process (1967). His Art of Translation was published in a revised form in translations into German (1969), Russian (1974), Serbo-Croat (1982) and English (2011). These are only three titles out of over 200 that he produced as author and/or editor over a period of less than 20 years. Actually, translation and its history, theory, methodology and practice was just one of his interests. He also ‚indulged‘ in comparative versification, English literature and the general theory of literature, including mathematical theory of verse. Some of his writings were originally published in languages other than Czech.
© Zuzana Jettmarová 2014, copy editor – Patrick Corness