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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 Common Reader Translated and Re-edited: Woolf and the Question of a “Lecture Féminine” - LADA CALE FELDMAN 157


LADA ýALE FELDMAN The Common Reader Translated and Re-edited: Woolf and the Question of a “Lecture Féminine” Although neither interested in translations of Woolf’s fiction and es- says, nor in the functions of her “icon” outside the Anglo-American world, Brenda Silver’s study on “the versioning of Virginia Woof”1 shows that no promotion of this writer’s work can count on its own “innocence”, on it being exempted from larger cultural tensions re- garding art, politics, gender, class, the canon, and feminism that her legacy is able to stir. Wonderfully provocative, Silver’s treatment of Woolf’s “stardom” predominantly relies on visual material – Woolf’s pictures and photographs – that continues to feed the accompanying obsession with her physical beauty, her Sphinx-like nose, her Medusa- like gaze. However, Silver equally strongly argues that Woolf’s fame as a major intellectual icon started in fact with the notorious word- play used by Edward Albee for the title Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, a play whose demonic equation between a woman writer and a fairy tale’s bogey man had distinct cultural resonances within the American cultural climate, that involved various issues regarding aca- demic hierarchies, intellectual elitism, the liberation of women and even the politics of abortion.2 The clamour and disparagements that marked the reception of the play clearly showed that it is enough to mention Woolf’s name and a host of ghostly appearances are likely to gather, reminding one of diverging loyalties: to aestheticism, to na- tional literary traditions, to modernist cultural intervention, to women’s movement,...

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