Publication details [#1139]

Eco, Umberto and Mary Louise Wardle. 2002. On translating Queneau's Exercices de style into Italian. In Vandaele, Jeroen, ed. Translating humour. Manchester: St. Jerome. pp. 221–240.
Publication type
Article in jnl/bk
Publication language
Source language
Target language
Person as a subject
Title as subject


Eco shows how a careful rhetorical analysis of Exercices de style underlies his Italian translation of Queneau’s text. At first sight, it may look as though Queneau had wanted to put into practice a variety of traditional figures from the Ars rhetorica, each text focusing on one rhetorical device. Closer scrutiny reveals instead that (1) he did not limit himself exclusively to such traditional figures, (2) he used many more figures than the exercises’ titles suggest, and (3) he did not typically use the figures for ‘serious’ rhetorical purposes. Translating the ‘Exercices’, Eco suggests, is detecting, applying, evoking and flouting the rules in a similar way; with one important caveat: the flouting of form-related rules does not perforce create completely nonsensical linguistic chaos, since the generic embedding and its underlying rules of transgression confer meaning on ‘noise’.
Source : Based on abstract in journal