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‘The Pasolini translation problem’: from Una vita violenta to A Violent Life

La Penna, D. ORCID: (2021) ‘The Pasolini translation problem’: from Una vita violenta to A Violent Life. The Italianist, 41 (3). pp. 465-489. ISSN 1748-619X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/02614340.2021.2129407


This article provides a microhistorical analysis of the English translation of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Una vita violenta, penned by William Weaver and published by British publisher Jonathan Cape in 1968. By evaluating the archival evidence surrounding this ‘translation event’, this study reconstructs the transatlantic alliances that the firm tried to forge with American firms between 1959 and 1968 to spread the translation costs and ensure greater geographical diffusion. Furthermore, it maps the efforts made to secure the best translator for what was judged to be a linguistically challenging foreign title. The study contextualises the translators’ articulations of how best to interpret in English the mixture of dialect and slang characterising Pasolini’s novel. The analysis of the business and aesthetic discourses surrounding this translation event also takes into account Pier Paolo Pasolini’s evolving discourse on dialect and his position in the national and international cultural fields.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > Languages and Cultures > Italian
Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Book Cultures and Publishing (CBCP)
ID Code:107998
Uncontrolled Keywords:Pier Paolo Pasolini; William Weaver; translation; publishing history; Jonathan Cape; Tom Maschler.
Additional Information:Special issue: Literary Exchanges between the Italian and Anglo-American Publishing Markets: readers, translators, mediators (1945-1970)
Publisher:Taylor and Francis


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