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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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East and West Germany Battle with Orlando - IVONNE DEFANT 97


IVONNE DEFANT East and West Germany Battle with Orlando Introduction The overarching theme of history in Virginia Woolf’s Orlando (1928), represented by the ageless eponymous hero, who in his travel through several centuries of English literary history becomes a woman, brings into relief the question about objective representation, which consti- tutes an original aspect of Woolf’s modernist art. In her attempt, both in fictional and non-fictional writing, to reformulate the concept of history, Virginia Woolf blurs the limits of both history and story so as to create an hermeneutical act of transformation that precedes the groundbreaking debate on the self-critical concept of historiography, based on the relationship between history and literature. From this subjective viewpoint, the exploration of the history of Orlando’s German translations, read along with the gender issues which are so central to this novel, seems to concur to discuss the epistemological value of history as gender construction. These translations are so em- bedded in history that even the dates of their publication that cover crucial events of German history ranging from the advent of the Se- cond World War to present-day time cannot pass unnoticed: the rise of Nazism, the construction of the Berlin wall and the reunification of Germany. As we will see, it is yet in historical gaps that history yields to herstory and the reader can project her/his revision of the German past onto them. As regards the German reception of Virginia Woolf, its focus on history in the 1990s1 coincides with a major...

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