Re-Covered Rose

A case study in book cover design as intersemiotic translation

Marco Sonzogni | Victoria University of Wellington
ISBN 9789027211903 | EUR 65.00 | USD 98.00
ISBN 9789027282170 | EUR 65.00 | USD 98.00
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When a reader picks up a book, the essence of the text has been translated into the visual space of the cover. Using Umberto Eco’s bestseller The Name of the Rose as a case study, this is the first study of book cover design as a form of intersemiotic translation based on the purposeful selection of visual signs to represent verbal signs. As an act of translation, the cover of a book ought to be an ‘equivalent representation’ of the text. But in the absence of any established interpretive criteria, how can equivalence between the visual and the verbal be determined and interpreted? Re-Covered Rose tackles this question in an original and creative way, laying the foundation for a new research trend in Translation Studies.

Marco Sonzogni is Senior Lecturer in Italian, School of Languages and Cultures, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. A widely published academic and an award-winning editor, poet and literary translator, he is the Director of the New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation/Te Tumu Whakawhiti Tuhinga.

[Not in series, 169] 2011.  viii, 181 pp., incl. ills.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“This truly original work on book cover design as intersemiotic translation is a brilliant new approach to translation studies.”
Re-Covered Rose is a brilliant study on book covers anchored in a felicitous marriage between innovative translation theory and creative practice. Until recently research on book covers has focused primarily on the commercial artistic outcome of the interactions between cover and reader without considering the continuity of meaning between a book’s cover and its text. Forging new ground, Sonzogni addresses the complex act of negotiation from verbal to visual signs as an act of intersemiotic translation. He tests his set of criteria for evaluating book covers through a unique case study that considers the fifty finalists in the international cover contest of Umberto Eco’s celebrated The Name of the Rose. Foregrounding the rich diversity stimulated by Eco’s work, Sonzogni’s book treads new theoretical ground while being a visual feast of powerful images – a book to be both pored over and displayed.”
“Marco Sonzogni’s beautiful and original book, based on a competition to design a cover for Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, illustrates the various ways a book cover can relate to its text. This relation, seen as a type of translation, is subjected to Sonzogni’s careful scrutiny in a fascinating study that provides a wealth of thought-provoking material for anyone interested in translation, reading, reception, or the novel.”
“What can you tell about a book from its cover? This question that readers encounter every day has deeply important theoretical and aesthetic implications, as Marco Sonzogni’s fascinating book shows. Sonzogni offers an inventive, provocative, and highly entertaining exploration of the relation between texts and their visual representation. The very difference between a book and its cover makes any visual rendering an act of translation, as he points out, and no translation can claim perfect fidelity to the original. Sonzogni shows that the differences between such translations can be productive or problematic – that is, illuminating conflicts over how to interpret a text or mistranslations that may give a reader a false impression of what’s inside. This is an original, insightful study that should be of interest to anyone concerned with book history and production, the relation between literature and the visual arts, and the theory of signs and interpretation.”
“In this highly original and compelling study Marco Sonzogni examines book covers as a form of translation from the verbal to the visual and points to the importance of this form of intersemiotic translation for our understanding of the nature of the book. Re-Covered Rose is an engaging and illuminating exploration of a hugely neglected area of response to the written word in contemporary culture. The study represents an exciting new departure in translation studies and will be of great interest to anyone who cares about the fate of reading in our digital age.”
“As if to demonstrate the universal appeal of the book chosen for the international book cover contest behind the case study of Sonzogni’s book – Umberto Eco’s bestseller The Name of the Rose (1980) – Venus febriculosa received over 250 entries from 50 countries representing every continent, many of which were of the highest quality. Among the expected images figuring into the covers in many clever permutations were roses, labyrinths, monks, manuscripts, stairwells, fingerprints, bloodstains, crucifixes, towers. There were also a handful of text-only covers some of which managed to be as compelling as the visual covers. Lastly, a few covers eschewed the above catalogue with a playful wink and instead opted for non sequiturs, non-referential or anachronistic. The winning cover was designed by Razvan Mitoiu (Romania). Communicating an almost overpowering dark primitivism, it succeeds because it suggests so many things: ritual, mystery, violence. The dark dripping fluid (blood, poison, ink, wax?) is a wonderful Rorschach image: is it an occult, pagan, or alchemical symbol? The beginning letters of an interrupted word? A crucifix? Or a purely accidental spill with no meaning whatsoever? The torn page; the faded text with the English words January and February clearly visible and repeated; the text that appears to be handwritten but on closer inspection is not… All of these little mysteries compound the sense of general unease and highlight the complexities underpinning the relationship between the verbal and the visual.”
“Marco Sonzogni’s Re-Covered Rose: A Case Study in Book Cover Design as Intersemiotic Translation proposes an intriguing new method to discuss book covers as intersemiotic objects with a different approach from those used in concurrent Paratranslation discourses. With a rigorous approach, the book analyses the selection of visual signs which represent verbal signs and discusses the notion of equivalence between the two sign systems; indeed an approach that could lead to new trends in Translation Studies, informing research on advertising translation and multimodal translation.”
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2018. From a “pornographic” book to a classic. Babel. Revue internationale de la traduction / International Journal of Translation 64:5-6  pp. 671 ff. DOI logo
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2020. Dwarfism on Display. Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies 14:2  pp. 203 ff. DOI logo
Chen, Xi
2018. Representing cultures through language and image: a multimodal approach to translations of the Chinese classicMulan. Perspectives 26:2  pp. 214 ff. DOI logo
Ford, Jennifer Anne
2016. What students and teachers can learn by judging a book by its cover. The Australian Library Journal 65:1  pp. 50 ff. DOI logo
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2022. Clothing Death: Harry Clarke’s Designs for Edgar Allan Poe’s Dead Brides, from Word to Image. TEXTILE 20:2  pp. 151 ff. DOI logo
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2022. Uncovering the Unwritten: A Paratextual Analysis of Autofiction. Life Writing 19:1  pp. 127 ff. DOI logo
Henry-Tierney, Pauline
2021. The Many Faces of Beauvoir: Paratranslated Materiality in Le Deuxième Sexe. In Translating Feminism,  pp. 43 ff. DOI logo
Jiang, Mengying
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Kriel, Lize
2021. Winged women on book covers for contemporary African fiction: Shubnum Khan’s creation for Mohale Mashigo’s Intruders (2018). Pharos Journal of Theology :102 (1) DOI logo
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2021. Art, Design and Communicating the Story: The Cover of Coach Fitz. In Creative Writing Practice,  pp. 223 ff. DOI logo
Mossop, Brian
2018. Judging a translation by its cover. The Translator 24:1  pp. 1 ff. DOI logo
Mossop, Brian
2019. ‘Intersemiotic translating’. Translation and Interpreting Studies 14:1  pp. 75 ff. DOI logo
Naghmeh-Abbaspour, Bita
Neather, Robert
2014. Visual Paratexts in Literary Translation: Intersemiotic Issues in the Translation of Classical Chinese Literature. In A Companion to Translation Studies,  pp. 504 ff. DOI logo
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2015. How to Visualize Linguistic Theories: Multimodale Linguistikvermittlung in universitären Lehrwerken. Mitteilungen des Deutschen Germanistenverbandes 62:4  pp. 379 ff. DOI logo
Poposki, Zoran & Marija Todorova
2023. Performativity and intersemiotic translation in contemporary art: the case ofHong Kong Atlas. Visual Studies  pp. 1 ff. DOI logo
Salmani, Bahloul & Zahra Eghtesad
2015. An Intersemiotic Approach towards Translation of Cover Designs in Retranslated Classic Novels. Theory and Practice in Language Studies 5:6  pp. 1185 ff. DOI logo
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2022. Comment les péritextes éditoriaux orientent la lecture polonaise de Het volkomen huwelijk (Le Mariage parfait) de Theodoor H. van de Velde. Między Oryginałem a Przekładem 28:2(56)  pp. 119 ff. DOI logo
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2017. Picture–text congruence in translation: images of the Zen master on book covers and in verbal texts. Social Semiotics 27:5  pp. 604 ff. DOI logo
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This list is based on CrossRef data as of 20 may 2024. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.




Literature & Literary Studies

Theoretical literature & literary studies

Translation & Interpreting Studies

Translation Studies

Main BIC Subject

GTE: Semiotics / semiology

Main BISAC Subject

LIT006000: LITERARY CRITICISM / Semiotics & Theory
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2011037060 | Marc record