Aaron Robertson ’17 Translates an Italian Author’s Seminal Work

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By Ezra Austin ’19
July 17, 2019

Growing up outside Detroit, Mich., Aaron Robertson ’17 never anticipated he would be involved in translating Italian literature. But the signs were there from the beginning. “When I was in middle school I loved the Italian Renaissance,” he recalls. In high school: “I did a project that was essentially doing a comparison between cultural representations of American imperialism and Italian imperialism.” Robertson now spends much of his time embarking on projects with a similar comparative lens. Specifically, he is focused on bringing the stories of Afro-Italians to the attention of global audiences. Robertson says his experiences in Princeton’s Italian and African American studies departments have largely shaped his career. 

Robertson’s translation of Scego’s Beyond Babylonwas released last month, with a foreword written by Princeton creative writing professor Jhumpa Lahiri. Through the process, Robertson has developed a relationship with Scego herself.

“She’s been extremely gracious to me,” he says. He plans to work as her official translator for future releases in English.

“I’m currently working on her autobiography,” he says.

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