Categoria: Abstracts numero 1

a cura di Margareth Keanneally e Aurelia Martelli

Enrico Piceni: translating crime novels in Fascist Italy

by Enrico Ganni – Despite the severe cultural restrictions imposed by the Fascist regime, in the 1920s and 30s the Mondadori publishing house made great efforts to internationalize its publishing list and to introduce literary genres little known to Italians before that time. Thus motivated, they created two new series: “La Medusa”, dedicated to great writers like Thomas Mann, Hermann Hesse and Virginia Woolf; and “I libri gialli” (literally “Yellow Books”) that for the first time offered Italian readers the opportunity to read a wide range of works from the most famous authors of crime novels.
In both cases, it was Enrico Piceni (1901-1986) (a close collaborator with Arnoldo Mondadori at the time) who played a leading role in setting up the series, as well in the translations of the texts: he translated more than seventy novels, most in the years leading up to WWII. Many of these translations are still in the Mondadori catalogue today.

Review: Franco Fortini’s Lezioni sulla traduzione

by Aurelia Martelli – Between November 20 and 23, 1989 Franco Fortini (translator of Goethe, Brecht, Milton. Kafka, Flaubert, Proust and other authors) held a seminar on translation at the Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies in Naples. In this series of lessons (now collected together in one volume as Lezioni sulla traduzione), Fortini dealt with the complexity of translation, arriving at a synthesis of all the elements that condition the work and choices of a translator: elements that can be linguistic, stylistic, cultural, social, economic or editorial. In addition, Fortini dedicated considerable attention to the dialogue between the poet, poet-translator and poet-translated, highlighting the incisive role that translation had played in his own intellectual and literary life. He also acknowledged the decisive role played by translation in the development of the culture of any Nation, given its capacity to stimulate, though perhaps indirectly, crucial transformations in the language and literature of the target culture, through the introduction or the adaptation of new literary forms, genres and models.

Interview: Claudia Zonghetti

by Giulia Baselica – In this interview Claudia Zonghetti, translator of Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman, tells her story and welcomes us into her world: a world of words, of doubts and reflections, but, above all, of emotion. And she does so with that deep insight and simplicity, combined with a light, yet down-to-earth approach, that is so typical of her. From this conversation with Zonghetti a portrait emerges of a soul that embraces a myriad of souls, of a voice that multiplies into countless voices, to whom we owe the priceless gift offered so generously by every translator: literature in all its beauty.

Review: All’ombra dell’altra lingua. Per una poetica della traduzione by Antonio Prete

by Giulia Baselica – In this review of a remarkable text by Antonio Prete, I have tried to give the reader a taste of some, though by no means all, of the many aspects of translation examined by the author. It is an invitation to read All’ombra dell’altra lingua. Per una poetica della traduzione, which in itself invites the reader to set out on a long voyage of adventure through and along the words written by the greatest minds of every era, following closely, faithfully, in their shadow. A shadow that is not dark, but full of light, shining still, and miraculously illuminating the road that lies before us.

Translating Colette

by Anna Battaglia – This article describes a teaching/learning experience: the translation of the first story from La Maison de Claudine (My Mother’s House) by Colette (1922), Où sont les enfants, where the female narrator describes a place from her childhood, at a distance of forty years. It is only through careful reading, aimed at bringing to light the key features of the text, that one can arrive at a relevant, responsible translation. The issues that arose in discussion with the students concerned the lexis (personification of inanimate objects and plants); the syntax of the verb, which is affected by the time lapse between the moment of writing and the events narrated; Colette’s uniquely personal use of the French language, exploiting its flexibility to the limits to satisfy her need for ellipsis and allusiveness; identification of the points of reference used by the memory to process recollections that lie deep within the mind and are brought to life by the narrative act.

A Family of Translators

by Paola Agosti – The Premio Agosti is an annual prize for Best Translation which Paola Agosti and her brother Aldo have named after their mother, Nini Castellani Agosti: firstly, because she was an acclaimed and prolific translator, and secondly because theirs can actually be defined as a family of translators. Their grandmother, Cristina Garosci, translated from Polish; Nini’s brother, Emilio Castellani, is famous as the Italian translator of Bertolt Brecht; her sister, Enrica, translated children’s books, as did her husband, Giuseppe Ciocia. Giorgio Agosti, Paola and Aldo’s father, is renowned for his active role in the Italian Resistance in WWII and for being appointed as Head of the Police Force in Turin by the Committee of National Liberation at the end of the war. But he too did his share of translation and, when requested by Cesare Pavese, translated a number of nonfiction books.

A Twice Told Tale

by Susanna Basso – Alice Munro once declared in the course of an interview that when reading her old stories she sometimes thinks she would do them differently. She has actually done so with this old story of hers, whose title, Home, is in itself the promise of a return. Thirty years have elapsed from the first to the second version of her text and what has occurred within the words, the narrative structure and even the grammar of the text provides the reader/translator with amazing material for reflection on “how writing is written”.

The Unknown Addressee

by Christiane Nord – It is commonly accepted that anybody who sits down to write a text has at least a vague idea of the audience they are addressing. In text or discourse linguistics there seems indeed to be almost no debate regarding the assumption that the addressee, or rather the idea of the addressee that the author has in mind, is a very important criterion guiding the writer’s stylistic or linguistic decisions. However, what is common practice in technical writing and advertising, is not so unanimously accepted in translation, because fidelity to the source text is regarded as the yardstick by which we measure the quality of a translation. Equivalence-oriented scholars criticize functionalist approaches to translation and ask, “How do translators know who the target audience will be and what their expectations are?”. Using the concept of intertextuality, the following article attempts to provide some methodological suggestions as to how translators and translation students might find an answer to this question before embarking on a particular translation task.

Translating hegemony: observations on Gramsci, Language and Translation

by Mauro Pala – For Gramsci language plays a major role in developing a theory of social emancipation. Accordingly, language must be analyzed against the backdrop of external determination and in this context national cultures or the expressions of two fundamentally similar civilizations can be mutually translatable. The principle of translatability thus applies to the entire construction of Gramsci’s philosophy of praxis: translation becomes the necessary criterion of mediation between two cultures or world views and constitutes the means for gauging the multiple and ever changing faces of reality. In a certain sense, the practice of translation gives a measure of Gramsci’s project of absolute historicism. Gramsci, Language and Translation, the collection of essays edited by Peter Ives and Rocco Lacorte, sheds light on this Sardinian intellectual’s unique way of approaching language as a political issue and linguistic concepts as a means to analyse culture, seen as an ensemble of pivotal social factors.

Review: Melancolia occidentale – essay by Luca Crescenzi

by Massimo Bonifazio – Luca Crescenzi’s essay Melancolia occidentale (Western Melancholy) provides a new interpretation of Thomas Mann’s novel Der Zauberberg (The Magic Mountain). In 2010 Crescenzi edited a new Italian version of the novel, translated by Renata Colorni with a new title, La montagna magica (The Magic Mountain). Crescenzi’s essay considers Mann’s novel in the light of the ancient tradition of melancholy (an impulse towards death pervading the whole of western culture), whose hypostasis is found in WWI. The entire novel is thus interpreted as the dream of a German soldier during a battle. Crescenzi also identifies several recurring elements in The Magic Mountain which he believes Mann adopted from Albrecht Dürer’s famous engraving Melencolia I.