The archival records of the British Council and the Ministry of Information-Central Office of Information (The National Archives, Kew, UK), together with the correspondence of Italian publishing houses and literary agents, document the complex relationship between British propaganda and the Italian translation industry in the years going from the Armistice to the Treaty of Peace (1943-1947). These sources demonstrate that Britain recognised the cultural influence that foreign reading products had in interwar Italy, as well as the function that they could perform in the postwar cultural field. In fact, British authorities encouraged the restoration of translation activities in Italy by launching a dedicated scheme for purchasing translation rights. Arguably, Britain associated an increasing propaganda value with having books translated and published by indigenous and independent publishing firms in newly liberated areas. While the British Council and the Ministry of Information helped to create new transnational contacts between Italian and British publishing, the article shall evaluate to what extent their efforts were successful in "obtain[ing] publicity for British ideas as expressed in British books." Key Words: Cultural diplomacy; British Council; Ministry of Information; Central Office of Information; Italy; Great Britain; Second World War; Translation rights.
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|Published - 2020