Alice's Adventures in the Italian Land: Translating Children's Literature in Italy across a Century (1872-1988)

  • Chiara Berrani

Student thesis: Phd


This research presents a synchronic and a diachronic investigation of six Italian translations of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Alice) across a century (1872-1988). This work draws on Antoine Berman's method for the analysis of literary translations and integrates it with interdisciplinary theoretical approaches focused on the investigation of children's literature in translation. The premises of children's literature studies, translation studies, and retranslation studies underpin the analytical framework that supports the textual analysis. The examination focuses in particular on the translation strategies used to convey in Italian the culture-specific references that contribute to fashion the identity of Alice and her Wonderland. The research operates on two different levels. Firstly, it presents a synchronic investigation concerned with a close reading and analysis of each translation in linguistic and textual terms. The elements examined in the detailed survey offer the opportunity to retrace the translators' unique understanding of Alice and discuss how it was conveyed to the Italian readers. Secondly, it proposes a diachronic investigation comparing, from a chronological perspective, the translation solutions previously identified and examines how the concepts of the image of the child and dual readership have evolved in the Italian translations. The purpose of the study is to investigate the translation strategies to convey Alice in Italian, observe the patterns that emerge from the analysis of the texts and advance explanatory hypotheses that would account for the changes in the translators' understanding of Carroll's novel over time. The close reading the research centres on aims to provide a meticulous collection of the translation solutions found in the texts; these are not confined to particular passages of the book but are found throughout it, thus offering support for future analysis on the translations of Alice. Finally, this research also aims to contribute to the analysis of children's literature in translation by providing an analytical framework able to support the investigation of different aspects of books for children in translation in other languages other than Italian.
Date of Award1 Aug 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorFrancesca Billiani (Supervisor) & Anna Strowe (Supervisor)


  • Retranslation Studies
  • Children's Literature Studies
  • Aldo Busi
  • Masolino d'Amico
  • Tommaso Giglio
  • Giusto Vittorini
  • Mario Benzi
  • Teodorico Pietrocola Rossetti
  • Emma C. Cagli
  • Textual analysis
  • Comparative Translation Studies
  • Translation Studies
  • Italian translations of Alice in Wonderland
  • Alice nel paese delle meraviglie
  • Lewis Carroll
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Alice's translation history in Italian

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