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Translating Virginia Woolf

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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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A Thousand Libraries: Swedish Readings of A Room of One’s Own - LISBETH LARSSON 191

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LISBETH LARSSON A Thousand Libraries: Swedish Readings of A Room of One’s Own The Swedish translations of Virginia Woolf’s works have been both very quick and very late. Jacob’s Room was translated as early as 1927, the first European translation, just five years after the original.1 It was a part of a small publishing house’s interest in ‘the new novel’, and if we consider the contemporary reviews, we can see that the novel was read with great expectations. Woolf already had a reputa- tion of being a great modernist author. However, according to the re- views her novel turned out to be a real disappointment. It was con- demned as ‘boring’ and ‘affected’. One critic wrote, ‘this is perhaps enough from a female point of view’, but ‘the common reader’, under- stood male, needs more facts and more action.2 And it would take Virginia Woolf’s death to get another publisher to invest in another translation. The choice this time was The Years, in many ways the most tradi- tional of Virginia Woolf’s novels, but nonetheless The Years was re- ceived and criticized with the same contempt as Jacob’s Room. In the reviews the novel is described as empty, boring and too difficult to read. However, this time it was obvious that the dismissal of Woolf could not be done easily any more. A more elaborated discussion was needed to show that the reason for their criticism was not ignorance or 1 Mary Ann Caws and Nicola Luckhurst eds, The Reception...

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