James Maraniss, Professor of Spanish, Emeritus, died on January 9, 2022. Jim began at Amherst in 1972 after receiving his doctorate at Princeton. He was a voracious reader and scholar, writing the libretto for an operatic adaptation of Calderón de la Barca's La vida es sueño (Life is a Dream) in collaboration with Lew Spratlan, Peter R. Pouncey Professor of Music, Emeritus, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 2000. Jim was also a longtime translator for Antonio Benítez-Rojo, Amherst Professor of Spanish and noted exiled Cuban writer. Jim had a deep sense of community, adored his native Wisconsin, and was a born storyteller. In courses on Golden Age Literature, the Generations of '98 and '27, European Theater, Poetic Translation, Spanish Film and the Spanish Civil War, Jim inspired generations of students with his sprawling intellect and generous nature. With his wife Gigi and their beloved corgies, Jim retired to his oasis in Chesterfield in 2015, but could still be seen occasionally visiting the Amherst campus he loved. His colleagues in the Spanish Department and across campus will remember his spirit and celebrate his life and contributions to our Department.
The New York Times wrote this article about his passing.