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  • Self-Translation in Transcultural Mode: Francesca Duranti on how to Put ‘a Scent of Basil’ into One’s Translations

    Arianna Dagnino

    Chapter from the book: Jonsson, H et al. 2021. Narratives Crossing Borders: The Dynamics of Cultural Interaction.

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    “Who but he... had ever felt what these words expressed?–these words that thundered and howled through his mind translating himself to himself, with such appalling fitness” (Amélie Louise Rives)

    Francesca Duranti is a creative writer who grew up with several languages and spent much time abroad. Her mother tongue is German but she writes mainly in Italian and translates mostly from French and English. Her particular transcultural sensibility runs through her body of work but is mostly manifest in her novel Sogni mancini (1996), the story of an Italian academic woman living in New York obsessed with the idea of finding a way to get rid of fixed identities and monological perspectives. Subsequently, Duranti decided to self-translate this novel into English, publishing it with the title Left-handed Dreams (2000). What were her reasons for self- translating this book, what self-translation strategies did she adopt, what did she gain and what did she lose in the process of mediating between two cultures and how did readers receive her target text? In this in-depth interview with Arianna Dagnino, Duranti reveals to what extent her acquired transcultural identity affected not only her way of writing but also of self-translating. As a coda to the interview and in light of what emerges from the writer’s answers, Dagnino analyzes Duranti’s self-translation, looking for those elements that mostly reveal the transcultural identity of a writer who decided to translate herself to herself. The article includes introductory paragraphs on the theory of the transcultural and transcultural identities (Dagnino 2015, Epstein 2009, Welsch 2009) as well as on the most recent studies in the field of literary self-translation (Grosjean 2010, Grutman 2016, Saidero 2011).

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    How to cite this chapter
    Dagnino, A. 2021. Self-Translation in Transcultural Mode: Francesca Duranti on how to Put ‘a Scent of Basil’ into One’s Translations. In: Jonsson, H et al (eds.), Narratives Crossing Borders. Stockholm: Stockholm University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16993/bbj.m

    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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    Published on June 15, 2021


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