Barbara Reynolds

Eva Mary Barbara Reynolds (13 June 1914 – 29 April 2015) was an English scholar of Italian Studies, lexicographer and translator. She wrote and edited several books concerning Dorothy Sayers and was president of the Dorothy L. Sayers Society.[1] She turned 100 in June 2014.[2] Her first marriage was to the philologist and translator Lewis Thorpe.

Barbara Reynolds
Eva Mary Barbara Reynolds

13 June 1914
Died29 April 2015 (aged 100)
(m. 1939; died 1977)
Kenneth Imeson
(m. 1982; died 1994)

Early lifeEdit

The daughter of Alfred Charles Reynolds, and the god-daughter of writer Dorothy L. Sayers, Reynolds was educated at St. Paul's Girls' School and University College, London.[3]


Reynolds was an Assistant Lecturer in Italian at the London School of Economics from 1937 to 1940.[3] During the Second World War, she was an Assistant Lecturer (1940–1945) at the University of Cambridge, then University Lecturer in Italian Literature and Language from 1945 to 1962.[3] She was Warden of Willoughby Hall, University of Nottingham, from 1963 to 1969 and Reader in Italian Studies at Nottingham from 1966 to 1978.[3] Alongside her teaching work, she was Chief Executive and General Editor of the Cambridge Italian Dictionary from 1948 to 1981 and Managing Editor of Seven, an Anglo-American literary review, from 1980 to 2004.[3]

Reynolds held the title of Honorary Reader in Italian at the University of Warwick from 1975 to 1980 and was Visiting Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, 1974–75, Wheaton College, Illinois, 1977–78, and 1982, Trinity College, Dublin, 1980 and 1981, and Hope College, Michigan, 1982.[3] She was chairman of the Dorothy L Sayers Society from 1986 to 1994 and President from 1995.[3] Its officers in recent years have regularly programmed events for 13 June, the common birthday of Sayers and Reynolds.[4] She died on 29 April 2015.[5]

Awards and honoursEdit

The Italian government awarded Reynolds its Silver Medal for Services to Italian culture in 1964 and made her Cavaliere Ufficiale al Merito della Repubblica Italiana in 1978. She won the Edmund G. Gardner Memorial Prize for Italian Studies in 1964 and the Monselice International Literary Prize in 1976 for her translation of Orlando Furioso.[3][6][7]

Major publicationsEdit

Her major work is the Cambridge Italian Dictionary, of which she was the General Editor. The first volume appeared in 1962 and the second in 1981. Beyond the Dictionary, her first book was a study of Alessandro Manzoni. She completed and annotated Paradiso, the last volume of Dorothy L. Sayers' three-volume translation of Dante's Divine Comedy, which was left unfinished at Dorothy Sayers' death. Reynolds afterwards translated Dante's La Vita Nuova and Ariosto's Orlando Furioso for the Penguin Classics. She wrote a study of Dante's life and work, Dante: The Poet, the Political Thinker, the Man. In 1993 Reynolds published a biography of Sayers, who was her god-mother, called Dorothy L. Sayers: Her Life and Soul (1993). She also edited four volumes of Sayers's letters and an additional volume.