This volume stands at the intersection of children’s literature studies and translation studies. Borrowing from stylistics and sociology, it engages with a phenomenon which has reached its full scope over the 20
The Swedish translations of Alice in Wonderland
Malmö University, Sweden
Few children’s books have enjoyed such enduring international popularity as Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Since its original publication in English in 1865, it has been translated into more than 150 languages.1 Moreover, Alice in Wonderland has had staying power. In many European countries it has remained in print since the 1950s, with new editions or reprints appearing every year. The many re-translations testify to the book’s canonical status as well as to its dynamic nature. There has apparently been a need to adapt and re-present the text to new audiences. The Swedish context, which provides the framework of this paper, will be used as a touchstone. The ulterior aim is to discuss the idea of longue durée in relation to the (re)translations of children’s books, that is, provide a case where a work – in this instance Alice in Wonderland – has remained in translation over a long period of time and where some of these translations are almost canonized in their own right, and continue to be used as points of reference.
The phrase longue durée (“long term”) was coined by historiographers of the French Annales School; it designates slowly emerging historical changes, not least of a socio-economic nature.2 It is perhaps presumptuous to adopt longue durée for the study of translations and re-translations. However, it indicates a shift of focus from specific translations and incidental stylistic traits to the larger (and...
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