La vita agra-dolce: Italian Counter-Cultures and Translation during the Economic Miracle
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My dissertation research focuses on Italian literature of the 1960s, specifically translations from the American counterculture and poetry of the neo-avantgarde. Through a detailed study of three specific translational moments--Fernanda Pivano's translations of Allen Ginsberg's counterculture poetry, Luciano Bianciardi's translation of Henry Miller's controversial Tropic of Cancer, and the neo-avantgarde poets Edoardo Sanguineti and Alfredo Giuliani's translations of British high modernist writers like James Joyce and T.S. Eliot--I explore the literary-historical period of the post-World War II economic boom in Italy. While recent translation studies scholarship focusing on Italy has addressed the Fascist period and the upsurge of translations under censorship, I build upon the idea of translation as cultural resistance in order to examine the relationship between translated and original texts during a period where the explosion of industry and prosperity led intellectuals to reconsider the ideological function and purpose of art. My study is framed within polysystems theory as developed by Itamar Even-Zohar, which reconfigures the organization of literatures to include all the literary works produced in a given language (i.e., to include translations). My notion of translation is informed by the position continually theorized by Lawrence Venuti, that is of translation not as an equivalent reproduction of a source text but a type of interpretative writing that radically transforms a text, placing it within an entirely new literary, linguistic, social, and historical context. While the polysystems approach is well-established within translation studies, it can offer a new perspective in Italian literary scholarship by combining pivotal author-based and translator-based case studies. This is grounded in a historicizing approach whereby I situate the economic miracle within its connection to a rise in literacy, readership, and reading practices, and therefore the world of publishing and translation, a virtual print revolution that gives rise to the "translation culture" that characterizes the globalized Italy of today.