Publication details [#11163]

Rudvin, Mette and Francesca Orlati. 2006. Dual readership and hidden subtexts in children's literature: the case of Salman Rushdie's Haroun and the Sea of Stories. In Coillie, Jan Van and Walter P. Verschueren, eds. Children's literature in translation: challenges and strategies. Manchester: St. Jerome. pp. 157–184.
Publication type
Article in jnl/bk
Publication language
Source language
Target language
Person as a subject


This paper investigates the translations of Salman Rushdie's children's book Haroun and the Sea of Stories (1990) into Italian and Norwegian. As Rushdie's first book after the publication of The Satanic Verses and the fatwa pronounced against him by the Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini, it was initially presented as an 'unthreatening children's book' despite its politically potent subtext. Thanks to the ambivalent status of its dual target readership and the metaphorical structuring of the attack on censorship, the text managed to communicate with its readership, bypassing the censors. This paper examines the strategies used by the translators to solve textual and subtextual translational challenges and discusses how they influence the text's more oblique political subtext. It also examines how the translators address the characteristically Rushdian technique of the 'literalization of metaphor'. Given that translators' strategies mirror the societal, literary and publishing norms of the target culture, a series of interesting translation issues emerge here: the micro-structural co-ordination of culture specificities, the macro-structural marketing policies dictating the translating strategies of the political subtext through metaphor, the positioning of the target reader as child or adult, and the place of translators and translations within the literary polysystem and the wider social system.
Source : Abstract in book