Eleonora Fois

Translating foreign space and landscape: The Mother by Grazia Deledda

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The Spatial Turn in Translation Studies (Italiano 2015, 4) is pointing out that translation is not just a matter of cultural transfer but a place where new spaces are created (Wolf 2002). In narrative texts, the text world is negotiated by both the author and the reader through discourse, but the translator makes such negotiation more complex. The translation of space and landscape can thus shape the image (hence, the reception) of foreign authors in the target culture, thereby reinforcing the interest in translation as a key player in world literature (Bassnett 2018). This paper draws on this framework to conduct an ecostylistic analysis of space and landscape in the English translation of Grazia Deledda’s novel La Madre. Deledda’s language of space originates from a subjective perception and performs a clear narratological function. In translation, however, the source author’s identity overlaps with the translator’s subjectivity, which impacts on the target text with political and ideological consequences (Venuti 1995). The reinterpretation of space and the rewriting process are then affected by the translator’s identity, the relationship between central and peripheral cultures and the consequent ideological and cultural issues. In order to discover whether Sardinia changes when filtered through the translator’s mind, culture and language, this paper will focus on a contrastive analysis of The Mother (La Madre), published in 1922. The translational choices related to space, nature and landscape – as features affecting intercultural communication and the reception of foreign authors will be discussed with a view to understanding if and how the perception of Sardinia changes from source to target text.


  • ecotranslation
  • ecostylistics
  • Deledda
  • landscape
  • translator’
  • s subjectivity


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