What if Uncle Charles was a woman?

Italian retranslations and the re-characterization of Joyce’s female voices

Authors

  • Monica Paulis University of Antwerp, Belgium

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.4312/stridon.2.1.31-48

Keywords:

retranslation, multi-voicedness, heterology, female re-characterization, James Joyce

Abstract

It is well-known that Joyce’s third-person narrators tend to mimic the characters’ idiolectic ways of expression. However, the rendering of characters’ idiolects through such multi-voiced narration, and therefore the way in which these characters are portrayed, has not always stood the test of translation. Especially in the early Italian translations, the rendering of multi-voiced narration suffers from the standardization of linguistic variation. As Joyce uses the characters’ idiolects as a means of characterization, this results in a flattening not only of the characters’ voices, but of their psychological traits in general as well.

The Italian retranslations, however, standardize less, show more linguistic and stylistic variety and reproduce more of the source text multi-voicedness. Retranslation can therefore be seen, in this case, as a means for re-characterization, especially when investigating female voices. As we will argue, this progressively more and more dialogical re-characterization of Joyce’s female voices can be explained by changing adequacy norms – related to an increased knowledge and understanding of narrative features in Joyce, such as the Uncle Charles Principle – and acceptability norms related to female voices that were considered obscene or socially unacceptable at the time of the first translations.

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Published

28. 06. 2022

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Section

ARTICLES

How to Cite

Paulis, M. (2022). What if Uncle Charles was a woman? Italian retranslations and the re-characterization of Joyce’s female voices. STRIDON: Journal of Studies in Translation and Interpreting, 2(1), 31-48. https://doi.org/10.4312/stridon.2.1.31-48