Abstracts numero 3

a cura di Katy Hannan

A more democratic Ulisse

by Enrico Terrinoni Based on his recent Italian translation of the book, in this article the author offers a new reading of one of the benchmarks of modernist literature, James Joyce’s Ulysses, in a more democratic, pluralistic light with a focus on semantic ambiguity. The analysis compares certain extracts with other versions of the same text, and in particular, with the most familiar and longstanding Italian translation of Joyce’s masterpiece. The comparison mainly focuses on the possibility of tackling authority principles in the light of the urgent need for ‘open’, ‘changing’ and ‘plural’ translations – all aimed at constructing a…

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The way (not) to say it. Patrick Dennis, Auntie Mame and the queer tradition

by Valeria Gennero In the mid-fifties Patrick Dennis published his Auntie Mame in the United States with enormous success, and it was immediately translated into Italian by Orsola Nemi and Henry Furst (La zia Mame, Bompiani 1956). The book later also became a best seller in Italy with the new translation by Matteo Codignola (Zia Mame, Adelphi 2009). This article analyses both versions of the book focussing on the importance of the references in the text to the codes of homosexual culture in the United States, and underlining how Auntie Mame presented a positive view of the queer community in…

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Paolo Nori and 19th century Russian classics, or the visibility of the translator

by Giulia Baselica This article focuses firstly on certain thoughts expressed by authors who have translated literary classics. Beginning with the comments by the several author-translators in question, the article then provides an overall analysis of part of the corpus of translations of 19th century Russian works by the author Paolo Nori in order to identify the translation strategies he adopted and the results and effects he achieved. This short analysis could provoke new attitudes towards Russian classics among Italian readers.

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Bringing Steinbeck to Italians. Vittorini translator of The Pastures of Heaven

by Silvia Guslandi Elio Vittorini’s 1940 translation of John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven offers the opportunity for a few comments on the work-style of this infamously “free” translator. His main objective when making choices seems to have been to simply make the original work more accessible to Italian readers. This was achieved by operating mainly on two levels. On the cultural side, he eliminated or modified any references that would have been unfamiliar to new readers; from a more technical point of view, his translation was closer to the traditional narrative style that was still prevalent in Italian fiction…

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A work created by translators: the Latin mathematical lexicon

by Lucio Russo The modern “scientific revolution”, which is considered usually as having its roots in the 17th century, actually continued to develop without interruption after the revival of scientific studies in Europe during the so-called “twelfth century Rebirth” making substantial progress during the Renaissance period. The essential role played by translators during this very long process is exemplified by the case of the Latin mathematical lexicon. It has been demonstrated that the lexicon as such, which still exists in modern scientific language with very few changes, was almost inexistent in ancient times and was created during the Late Middle…

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Interview: Anna Nadotti interviewed by Susanna Basso on her new translation of Mrs Dalloway

Anna Nadotti answers the questions in writing, reliving the “intense” and “exhausting conversation” with Virginia Woolf, revisited and rediscovered, shedding light on aspects which could not be understood in previous translations.

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Aunt Barbara and Anita

by Gianfranco Petrillo Second part of the cross-referenced biographies of Barbara Allason and Anita Rho, translators from German, describing their involvement in the Resistance and their difficult relationship with publishers. The first part appeared in issue N. 2 of “tradurre” (Spring 2012).

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The four problems faced by the translator of a text to the letter

by Alberto Bramati When working in any language pairs and on any type of text, translators who aspire to capturing not only the meaning but also the linguistic characteristics of the original will always meet with four types of problem: 1) lexical problems linked with the different codification of meanings in various languages; 2) grammatical problems linked with the rules that the speakers of every language must respect; 3) rhetorical problems linked with the need to reproduce any figures of speech present in the source text; 4) problems of rhythm linked with the need to recreate a well-balanced and efficient…

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Undivided convictions in a divided country. Remembering Christa Wolf in Italy

by Elisa Leonzio Christa Wolf, who died last year at the age of 82, was one of the most famous and controversial German authors in recent decades. This article aims at reconstructing the various stages of the reception of her work and its translation in Italy in the light of the relation between her poetry and politics (widely commented by the author herself). After the 1960s Wolf’s fame was mainly connected with her position concerning East Germany’s cultural politics; she was initially quite tolerant but later became progressively more critical. However her books remained almost unknown. During the 1980s her…

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Very fair children. The banality of ordinary words

by Susanna Basso Through a teaching experience, the surprising discovery of apparently unavoidable cultural interferences in the process of translating even very ordinary words. A group of young translators unearth prejudices hidden inside the history of a simple word contained in a short short-story by Caribbean author Jean Rhys.

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