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Solid and living: the Italian Woolf Renaissance

Bolchi, E. (2021) Solid and living: the Italian Woolf Renaissance. In: Dubino, J., Pajac, P., Hollis, C. W., Celiese, L. and Neverow, V. (eds.) The Edinburgh companion to Virginia Woolf and contemporary global literature. Edinburgh companions to literature and the humanities. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, pp. 183-198. ISBN 9781474448499

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The paper examines the ‘renewed attention’ that Virginia Woolf is enjoying in Italy in the last years. Such renewed attention started when her publication rights expired in 2011 – and she could be retranslated and republished by several publishing houses – and it keeps growing together with Virginia Woolf’s appeal, so much so that we can now speak of a ‘Woolf Icon’, to recall Brenda Silver’s book, in Italy as well. In order to analyse this rise in interest the chapter first makes a step back to introduce the historical publisher of Virginia Woolf’s works in Italy: the Arnoldo Mondadori Editore. A thorough analysis of Mondadori’s historical archive showed, in fact, a particular interest in the possession of the rights, even more than in the publication of the works of a foreign author. This was part of the reason why many Woolf’s books were published later in Italy than in France or in Germany, for example, and this was also the reason why, when the rights fist expired in 1991, a wave of re-translations appeared on the Italian marketplace. The duration of the publication rights was, however, soon extended to 70 years from the death of the author, and Mondadori became once again the owner of the Italian rights until 2011, when they expired permanently. The study shows how, once Woolf’s works were on the public domain, their publication in Italy was characterised by three main paths: the retranslations of her most important novels by prestigious publishers; the translations of works that had never been translated before; and last, the appearance of refined editions of her books in the catalogues of small, independent publishers. The competent translators and scholars editing some of these volumes, who are helping Italian readers to better understand Woolf’s prose, and are thus bringing about renewed attention to her work, actually ushered what I ventured to call an ‘Italian Woolf Renaissance’. By means of interviews to translators and publishers of Woolf’s works, and of an analysis of their reception in the Italian cultural network (literary periodicals, web, etc.), the paper aim to elucidate the reasons behind this ‘Woolf renaissance’, and to show in which ways the Italians’ fascination for her books and work is in constant growth.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > Modern Languages and European Studies > Italian
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Literature
ID Code:97006
Uncontrolled Keywords:Virginia Woolf, Italy, Reception, Translation, Publishing history
Publisher:Edinburgh University Press

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