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The reception of literary works: between translation and paratext - Poli-femo n. 28

Categories: Postcolonial, American, Hispanic & Latino, Comparative, Interdisciplinary, French, British, Popular Culture, Literary Theory, World Literatures, African-American, Colonial, Revolution & Early National, Transcendentalists, 1865-1914, 20th & 21st Century, Medieval, Early Modern & Renaissance, Long 18th Century, Romantics, Victorian, 20th & 21st Century, Aesthetics, Anthropology/Sociology, Classical Studies, Cultural Studies, Environmental Studies, Film, TV, & Media, Food Studies, History, Philosophy, African & African Diasporas, Asian & Asian Diasporas, Australian Literature, Canadian Literature, Caribbean & Caribbean Diasporas, Indian Subcontinent, Eastern European, Mediterranean, Middle East, Native American, Scandinavian, Pacific Literature
Event Date: 2024-12-30 Abstract Due: 2024-03-15

Poli-femo n. 28
The reception of literary works: between translation and paratext
In a complex and stratified reflection on the reception of a literary work, the role of translation occupies a central position: it often represents a first encounter with foreign literature for the reader. Analysed from the perspective of literary reception, the study of translation may be conceived as a space for linguistic, literary and historical analysis of the phenomenon of translation itself, as the analytical models developed by the group of scholars of the Tel Aviv School, especially during the 1970s, serve to remind us.
We must also consider that in the general space in which the reception of the translated text takes place, we can observe highly heterogeneous factors that affect the work from perspectives that are more or less closely related to it: there are title changes, the publication of shortened editions, and editions in translation for a young audience of works that were originally written for an adult audience. These choices have repercussions on the act of translating and on the reflections it generates on literary and aesthetic issues - from lexical contributions to stylistic changes, through genre crossings from a source literary tradition to a target literary tradition - as well as on socio-cultural issues.
This stratified and heterogeneous overview also requires the consideration of other aspects through which the publishing phenomenon and the dissemination of literary works are explored. This means focusing on phenomena and aspects of the publishing sector, but also of the commercial, material or strictly intellectual spheres, aimed at influencing, conditioning and orienting the reading and 'consumption' of literary works through their translation. These are aspects that support the translation with a parallel, accompanying discourse, which feeds the so-called paratext, through which multiple editorial, authorial, critical, and translation issues can be expressed.
If, on the one hand, every correct interpretative practice reminds us that the translated work does not enjoy a fully autonomous status because it is linked to a source text from which it is inseparable, on the other hand, the palimpsestic nature of the accompanying paratext, rich in accessory information that hybridises the translated work, is configured as a privileged literary space for the construction of a cultural reading of the translated work, an aspect that determines the manner of its reception.
Within this multifaceted and dialectic scenario, the reception of the translated literary work is the product of nodal passages, ranging from interlinguistic transposition to cultural transition, to the representation of what is perceived as "other", in the long-distance dialogue established between the imaginaries of reception and the image of the "other" of which the translated work is the symbol and expression. These are operations that, in fact, in their fulfilment, attest to the at least dual, truly hybrid nature of the literary work in translation, a hybrid nature that can be found in the meshes of the translation itself as well as in the entire paratext accompanying it, as Gérard Genette reminds us in his renowned founding study on this subject.
Reflecting on all this will make it possible to define and position a proposal for reflection on the reception of literary works, understood both as a continuation of the studies and practice of translation, and as a broader cultural reading project, in which, thanks to the voices of the paratext, we find the signs - linguistic, aesthetic, imagological - of the mentalities, ideas, and cultural universes that come into contact in different historical periods and which, through this complex system of voices, converse and produce effects at a textual level.
Topics and issues that may be addressed include:
o The material conditions of the production and dissemination of a translation: ideology, censorship, imagery
o Literary and aesthetic issues: cultural terminology, changes in style, changes in genre
o Reception and image of the "other" in the authorial paratexts of translated texts
o Editorial paratexts and communication strategies of translated texts
o Voices in translated texts: authors, translators, critics, graphic designers, as forms of authorial hybridity
o Plasticity, visual paratextuality and literary reception
o Paratextuality: between text and discourse
o Linguistic and cultural transitions in the translation process: forms of referential hybridity
o Reception of the foreign intertext as a form of poetic hybridity
o Specialist journals, literary blogs, social media and their role in the dissemination and reception of translated texts
Further proposals for study on the subject put forward by those intending to collaborate in the publication will be seriously examined by the Scientific Committee, in order to widen the field of exploration undertaken in this issue of the Magazine. Contributions will be accepted in Italian, English and French.
To this end, the Editorial Board proposes the following deadlines: a preliminary and essential step is to send an abstract (min.10/max.20 lines), keywords and a brief curriculum vitae of the proposer, to redazione.polifemo@iulm.it by 15 March 2024 (absolute deadline).
Authors will receive confirmation of the acceptance of their contributions from the Editorial Office by 25 March 2024.
The deadline for submitting contributions is 15 June 2024.
All contributions will be subject to double blind peer review. After passing the peer-review phase, the contributions that will be accepted must be no longer than 35,000 characters in length, including spaces and footnotes.
The issue, edited by Prof. Paolo Proietti and Prof. Giovanna Zaganelli, will be published in December 2024.


Andrea Chiurato