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Translating Virginia Woolf


Edited By Oriana Palusci

Translating Virginia Woolf is a collection of essays that discusses the theory and practice of translation from an interdisciplinary perspective, involving research areas such as literature, linguistics, sociolinguistics, cultural studies, and history. It is the outcome of a selection of papers given at the international conference by the same title, held at the University of Naples ‘L’Orientale’ in 2010.
Interweaving literary threads and target languages such as Arabic, Croatian, Danish, Dutch, German, Italian, Serbian, Spanish, and Swedish, this volume traces the history of the translation and reception of Woolf’s fiction and feminist pamphlets. It investigates the strategies of translation of several of her works in different countries and cultural contexts through the contrastive analysis of one or more editions of the same Woolfian text. The final result is a symphony of languages, spreading the notes of Virginia Woolf’s modernist and feminist discourse across Europe and beyond.


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The Challenge of Free Indirect Speech in Mrs Dalloway - PAOLA FAINI 39


PAOLA FAINI The Challenge of Free Indirect Speech in Mrs Dalloway Blending voices, merging perspectives Translating Virginia Woolf, in addition to appropriating impressions and techniques, inevitably entails bridging the gap between the per- ception of feelings and the way they are worded. Since her stylistic features reveal her authorial and subjective evaluation, each meaning- ful textual detail is relevant both individually and as part of a whole. Accuracy and astuteness are two of the primary prerequisites when dealing with stylistic choices such as her sudden change from past to present tense, her partiality for elliptical sentences, her sensi- tivity to sounds and rhythms, and also her use of Free Indirect Speech. I do not want to generalise in saying that Free Indirect Speech repre- sents a prevailing technique in all of her novels, but whenever it is used, it undoubtedly contributes to establishing the realistic narrative fabric which is so skilfully expressed in chapter 3 of A Room of One’s Own, when she writes: ‘fiction is like a spider’s web, attached ever so lightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners’.1 The vis- ual image this quotation offers parallels the lifelike aural perception produced by the polyphonic effects of Free Indirect Speech (FIS). Halliday’s discussion of Free Indirect Speech focuses on its ‘mode of projection’ (verbal or mental projection) ‘that combines fea- tures of quoting and reporting’ – a “blend” of both direct and indirect speech í ‘representing two degrees of remove from the original source’.2 Words, thoughts, feelings,...

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