Translating and Re-narrating Multilingual Texts: The Extreme Case of Finnegans Wake

Simona Anselmi, Margherita Ulrych

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in libroChapter


The present paper explores the notion of translation as renarration with regard to the area of translating multilingual texts and the problems it poses the theory and practice of translation. In contrast with the widespread view of translation as a source of hybridization, studies carried out on the translation of multilingual texts, literary and non-literarty alike, have revealed a tendency on the part of translators to act as dehybridizing agents. This hypothesis is tested on the fascinating case of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, the quintessence of a multilingual text, whose composition coincided with the incorporation of a growing number of foreign languages into the relatively standard English of the earlier versions through a variety of translation processes. After analysing these translation processes in the Anna Livia Plurabelle episode, with particular attention to the translational movements that occur between the two languages of Ireland, Anglo-Irish and Irish, Joyce’s Italian re-narration of the same episode is examined to see what happens when a text written for an ideal multilingual and multicultural reader is rewritten for a reader who presumably does not know English or the multitude of languages infused in the text. The comparison shows a systemic elimination of the words, sounds and references to other languages that characterized the composition process, which are instead substituted by intralingual translation processes generated from within the Italian language itself. The effect of plurality created by the multilingualism of the source text is, therefore, recreated by the simultaneous activation of various levels and resources within the target language.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospitea joyful of talkatalka from friendshapes for Rosa Maria Bollettieri Bosinelli
Numero di pagine15
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2011


  • Finnegans Wake as translation in progress
  • Joyce translating into Italian
  • translating multilingual texts


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