Italian translations of English stream of consciousness: a study of selected novels by James Joyce and Virginia Woolf
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The appearance of the stream of consciousness novel in the early Twentieth century marked a revolutionary moment in the history of English-language literature. Authors such as Joyce, Woolf and Faulkner aimed at simulating through language the inner workings of the human mind which were explored by contemporary psychology and philosophy. Their experiments with linguistic and narrative possibilities make their work a stimulating subject of study, both in the original and in translation. Although stream of consciousness novels by different English-speaking authors have been examined together linguistically before (e.g. Humphrey 1954, Dahl 1970, Cohn 1978), no translation study of this kind has yet been attempted. In this thesis I examine how the main traits of the stream of consciousness genre, such as the apparent lack of narratorial control, privacy and spontaneity of the fictional discourse, are recreated in Italian. The core of this thesis is formed by a set of systematic comparative analyses of linguistic parameters which contribute to conveying these traits: punctuation, exclamatory utterances, interjections and lexical repetition. For the purpose of my investigation, I built a corpus of six English stream of consciousness passages with their nineteen Italian translations and re-translations. The source texts are drawn from Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Ulysses (1922), and Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway (1925) and To the Lighthouse (1927); the target texts from their complete translations published from 1933 to 1995. The analysis starts from the investigation of local translational choices and proceeds to identify patterns of behaviour. This qualitative method is complemented by a quantitative examination of the frequency of particular translation solutions both within and across target texts. The series of (re)translations are also compared diachronically and related to the retranslation hypothesis, according to which later translations tend to be closer to the source text. My research also puts the stream of consciousness phenomenon into the Italian socio-cultural context by examining how it was received in Italy across the Twentieth century.