Dracula’s Italian hosts: the manipulation of Bram Stoker’s novel in early Italian editions

Antonio Bibbò

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Abstract

This article investigates the first two Italian translations of Dracula as significant cases of manipulation of a classic of popular literature. It provides a brief survey of the malleable status of the text in its interlinguistic and intermedial translations in order to introduce the specificity of the Italian case. These two Italian translations represent two different, somewhat antithetical approaches to introducing gothic literature to early-twentieth century Italy. They show different strategies to overcome the deep-seated resistance of the Italian literary field by presenting the novel in very distinct ways. The Sonzogno edition highlights the novel’s popular character and shocking features, and domesticates its most unsettling aspects by focusing on the ghastlier elements and through systematic removal of all the novel’s political and socio-anthropological references. In the Bocca edition, Fedi adopted a reframing strategy that linked the novel with occultist beliefs, thus turning it into a sort of fictional treatise on vampirism and emphasizing its philosophical and mystical import. In order to make sense of these two cases, this article considers the interconnections between censorship and translation as a metonymic process, which can stimulate unorthodox readings that can ultimately be productive and grant books a more varied readership.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalPerspectives: Studies in Translatology
Volume26
Issue number6
Early online date20 Dec 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Bram Stoker
  • Italian gothic
  • literary translation
  • publishing history
  • self-censorship

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