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.

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