|The increasing challenges raised by the idea of ‘otherness’ in the contemporary world have played a role, in recent decades, in the emergence of translation studies as a critical field of inquiry investigating the role that translation plays in fostering or impeding understanding across cultures and contexts. In particular, the study of the translation of Italian literature has received a lot of attention, partially due to the recent, unprecedented growth of the number of texts translated from Italian. While at the beginning of the new millennium only 3,2% of books published in Italy were sold abroad, in the period between 2001 and 2019, the number of titles sold abroad went from 1800 to 8569, with an increase of more than 260%, and an average rise per year of 23,5%. The rise is mostly due to children’s and Young Adult literature and, more recently, to narrative titles (together, more than 64% of the total in 2019). The Italian phenomena raise the questions of why there has been such an increase but also refocuses attention on the question of the nature and significance of translation itself.|
What is a translation? One answer is that a translation is a repetition, in another language, of the original. If something like this is right then, according to Derrida, repetition is not simply about capturing and communicating content once and for all but is rather an ongoing process where the perfect similarity to the text of origin is a metaphysical ideal, and what is left untranslatable in any actual concrete translation always calls for a new translation. Translating is the inevitable process of trying to grasp and convey across linguistic and cultural lines, an ever-changing, never completely attainable meaning.
Returning to the Italian phenomenon specifically, in today’s globalized society, what are the contributions that Italian works make to the cultural debates where, thanks to new translations, they arrive and take root? If the translation is thought of as a kind of cultural agency, then in the contemporary multilingual and multicultural context, can the encounters between the Italian original and the translators’ gazes be defined as creative moments that ultimately lead readers to new and hitherto unavailable points of reflection? Are these new reflections due to the impact of the Italian original, to the work of the translator’s interpretation, or to both, and in what ways?
The next edition of La Fusta invites critical investigations in the area of Italian translation and translations from the last twenty years. Topics might include:
Translators as cultural mediatorsThe reception of Italian literature abroadTranslation practicesTranslations, diversity, and cultural hegemoniesItalian relativism vs global literatureEditorial control of translationsTranslation and transmedialityTranslating poetry and proseImpact of extralinguistic and social factors on translations/translatorsCorpora and automatic translation
Interested authors should send a paper of between 5000 and 7000 words, that addresses, but need not be limited to, the above questions. Submissions should be in English or Italian. Abstracts of 300 words (maximum), along with a 50-word author bio, are to be emailed to The Editors, at email@example.com by June 30, 2021.Decisions will be sent out by August 15, 2021.
If you have any questions, please contact the editors, at firstname.lastname@example.org