Abstracts numero 4

a cura di Katy Hannan

A finger in the pie of Günther Grass. Interview with Claudio Groff

by Ada Vigliani During a long chat Claudio Groff told us about his life as a translator from German with thirty years and about sixty books to his credit.  He talked about his roots in the Trentino region, his family, his education, the relationship between translation and his teaching work, the long period he spent in Austria, and his passion for Austrian literature and for contemporary authors in general. He gave us a lively description of his meeting with Günther Grass and his other translators and a meaningful encounter with Peter Handke against the backdrop of the Spanish meseta. In…

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Translating Portuguese language literature: New potential arises from old contradictions

by Daniele Petruccioli The various branches of literature in Portuguese developed in contact with one another despite the very different geographical and political contexts, great distances and conflict between countries for various reasons. Moreover, the question of the Portuguese language spelling reform that dates back to 1911 has not yet been resolved. As well as the normal diatopic variations that are reflected in the literature they express, this situation has created a series of contradictions reflected by the attitude of the writers towards the language in which they create their work. But as often happens in artistic fields, these contradictions…

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Translating Freud: a rocky road

by Giulia Boringhieri The publishing house founded by Paolo Boringhieri played a crucial role in the diffusion of scientific culture in post-war Italy especially during the period between 1957 and 1987 when it acted as a pioneering trailblazer. Its ambitious objective was to provide science with the tools (books) with which to capture a leading role alongside humanistic culture. Above all, it was essential to catch up with international culture and therefore, to translate; authors writing in Italian were not yet numerous and not familiar with communication methods. It was necessary to create a formal style for written texts, which…

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Kept under wraps

by Norman Gobetti David Foster Wallace, perhaps considered even more of a cult author in Italy than in the USA, has been translated into Italian by a wide range of different translators (about 20 in all). The events surrounding the publication of his works in Italy are complex and involve certain episodes that are hard to explain…  Kept under wraps is an attempt to unravel the knots by giving a voice to some of the people who worked on his books, and by reconstructing the intriguing incidents that occurred in his publishing history.

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Translations and the Italian literary history

by Michele Sisto The events involving three books published by Einaudi (Adorno’s Minima moralia, Brecht’s Poesie e canzoni and Goethe’s Faust) translated and/or commented by the exceptional mediators (Renato Solmi, Franco Fortini and Cesare Cases, respectively) would suggest that books translated in Italy should be accorded Italian citizenship. In fact, every translation constitutes an ‘official stance’ on a par with any ‘native’ work and contributes towards transforming the literary sphere in its relative sector. Research subject matter in Italian studies should therefore also include translated literature, its history, and those who produced it (authors, critics, literary groups, reviews, publishers, etc).

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An amateur at the court of the classics

by Mario Marchetti The translation of the ancient classics destined for a wide and naturally well-educated public enjoyed a revival of interest around the end of the 1970s mainly thanks to series like the new BUR collection published by Rizzoli and the ‘Oscar classici latini e greci’ by Mondadori. There is a considerable difference between the great translation movement linked with the Neo-classical period and the present time. Following a rapid glance at the nineteenth century and first half of the last century (as far as the false splendours of Fascism) before approaching the main subject, this article focuses on…

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Spaini and Pocar

by Silvia Camatta e Gianfranco Petrillo “tradurre” is presenting some hitherto unpublished (or almost) reflections on the work of two great translators from German of the last century. Alberto Spaini was the first to translate Alfred Döblin and Franz Kafka; Ervino Pocar translated hundreds of volumes by famous authors totalling more than 80,000 pages. The three texts (one by Spaini and two by Pocar) provide us with an extremely interesting intellectual account of their method of reasoning. Fascinating to read is the short historical outline in which, in a text written in German and translated into Italian by Silvia Camatta,…

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Daily life in the GDR. A short glossary with comments and Italian translation

by Peggy Katelhoen With the reunification of the two German states it was possible to observe directly and almost simultaneously the linguistic changes which resulted from the event. The process that had such a strong impact on the German language following the political upheaval of 1989/90 was absolutely unique and produced a transformation which was practically definitive, unilateral and selective. This German-German-Italian glossary of daily life is a collection of terms which, although by no means complete, shows many of the small differences in the language used in the two Germanies: the so-called lexemes which began in GDR and which have often…

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Borrowed words that should not be returned

by Isabella Vaj Fifteenth century Central Asia culture is in no way inferior to the beauty of the Italian Renaissance. Practically ignored by Italian culture which does not even possess the terms to describe certain elements of the Timurid architectural masterpieces, Western language must borrow terms from Persian and Arabic to describe many structures, as any translation would be inadequate. In our culture, the Timurids, but more generally Central Asia as a whole, do not enjoy the status they deserve for purely political reasons, as explained by Edward Saïd in his book Orientalism.

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I have a novel to translate (and with pictures to boot)

by Isabella Zani This article deals with personal reflections on the experience of translating graphic novels, centred around the idea that graphic narrative does not present the translator with any greater difficulties in text or context interpretation and comprehension than conventional prose. Pictorial narrative is neither more nor less difficult to translate than ant other literary forms; it is simply different. A skilled and competent translator is able to create a reputable translation even without being a comic strip fan or cult follower.

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