Luciano Bianciardi: Interventionist translation in the age of mechanical labour

Massimiliano Morini

Abstract

Starting with a discussion of ‘translator-centred’ translation studies, this article discusses the Italian writer Luciano Bianciardi as translation practitioner and theorist. Working in the age of mechanical labour and mechanical typewriters, Bianciardi translated at incredible speed, putting in physically exhausting daily shifts. Not surprisingly, he articulated a vision of his trade that associated it with the physical effort of shifting heavy loads of mud – a job he had seen performed by labourers in his native Tuscany. However, he saw the process of ‘turning over’ this linguistic mud as no mere slavish effort: just as he ‘infected’ his original writings with his own target texts, Bianciardi consciously imbued his translations with his personality and his style.

Keywords
Publication history
Table of contents

In the last three decades of theorizing, the figure of the translator has finally started to take centre stage within the discipline of translation studies. From the 1970s onwards, descriptive scholars began to shift the focus from rules to norms (Holmes 1988, 66–80; Toury 1978), and from how translations should be done to how translations were actually done, by real translators. But it was only in the early 1990s that the financial and social conditions in which translators operate, as well as their cognitive, emotional and physical responses, were chosen as the main topic of a series of important studies. An early exploration of the field was Douglas Robinson’s The Translator’s Turn, which busied itself with the “somatics” of translation, and announced that it was now, indeed, “the translator’s turn” to be considered as the main agent of his/her craft (Robinson 1991, xvi). Four years later, Lawrence Venuti published his famous study on The Translator’s Invisibility (1995), which again posed an individual (though necessarily generic) “translator” at the centre of a very ambitious History of Translation. In the following decades, a series of monographs and collections of essays followed which had the word “translator” in their titles (e.g., Bassnett and Bush 2006; Morini 2013).

Full-text access is restricted to subscribers. Log in to obtain additional credentials. For subscription information see Subscription & Price. Direct PDF access to this article can be purchased through our e-platform.

References

Allen, Peter
1996 “Trollope to His Readers: The Unreliable Narrator of An Autobiography.” Biography 19 (1): 1–18. Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Angelini, Maria Clotilde
1980Bianciardi. Firenze: La Nuova Italia.Google Scholar
2000 “La fatica del traduttore.” In Bianciardi 2000, 135–141.Google Scholar
Bassnett, Susan, and Peter Bush
eds. 2006The Translator as Writer. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
Bianciardi, Luciana
ed. 2000Carte su carte di ribaltatura: Luciano Bianciardi traduttore. Firenze: Giunti.Google Scholar
Bianciardi, Luciano
1961 “Il lavoro del traduttore.” In Bianciardi 2008, 873–875.Google Scholar
1962La vita agra. Milano: Rizzoli.Google Scholar
1965La vita agra, or, It’s a Hard Life [orig. La vita agra]. Translated by Eric Mosbacher. London: Hodder & Stoughton.Google Scholar
1969Aprire il fuoco. Milano: Rizzoli.Google Scholar
2008Luciano Bianciardi. L’antimeridiano: tutte le opere. Volume secondo: Scritti giornalistici. Edited by Luciana Bianciardi, Massimo Coppola, and Alberto Piccinini. Milano: ISBN Edizioni.Google Scholar
2009Il lavoro culturale. Milano: Feltrinelli.Google Scholar
Briamonte, Nino
2000 “Bianciardi traduttore e traduttore dal francese.” In Bianciardi 2000, 85–113.Google Scholar
Chesterman, Andrew
2009 “The Name and Nature of Translator Studies.” Hermes 42: 13–22.Google Scholar
Corrias, Pino
1993Vita agra di un anarchico: Luciano Bianciardi a Milano. Milano: Baldini&Castoldi.Google Scholar
Gengshen, Hu
2004 “Translator-Centredness.” Perspectives 12 (2): 106–117. Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Gordon, David J.
1988 “Character and Self in Autobiography.” The Journal of Narrative Technique 18 (2): 105–119.Google Scholar
Heaney, Seamus
1990New Selected Poems 1966–1987. London: Faber and Faber.Google Scholar
Hermans, Theo
1985 “Images of Translation: Metaphor and Imagery in the Renaissance Discourse on Translation.” In The Manipulation of Literature: Studies in Literary Translation, edited by Theo Hermans, 103–136. London: Croom Helm.Google Scholar
Holmes, James S.
1988Translated! Papers on Literary Translation and Translation Studies. Amsterdam: Rodopi.Google Scholar
Jesi, Furio
1964 “Cesare Pavese, il mito e la scienza del mito.” Sigma 1 (3–4): 95–120.Google Scholar
Littau, Karin
2016 “Translation and the Materialities of Communication.” Translation Studies 9 (1): 82–96. Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Maier, Carol
2006 “Translating as a Body: Meditations on Mediation.” In The Translator as Writer, edited by Susan Bassnett and Peter Bush, 137–148. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
2007 “The Translator as an Intervenient Being.” In Translation as Intervention, edited by Jeremy Munday, 1–17. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
Mastropierro, Lorenzo
2018 “Key Clusters as Indicators of Translator Style.” Target 30 (2): 240–259. Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Milani, Mila
2017 “The Role of Translation in the History of Publishing: Publishers and Contemporary Poetry Translation in 1960s Italy.” Translation Studies 10 (3): 296–311. Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Morini, Massimiliano
2006Tudor Translation in Theory and Practice. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
2010 “Translating Personalities: A Stylistic Model.” In Testo e traduzione: Lingue a confronto, edited by Fabiana Fusco and Monica Ballerini, 175–198. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
2013The Pragmatic Translator: An Integral Theory of Translation. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
Munday, Jeremy
2014 “Using Primary Sources to Produce a Microhistory of Translation and Translators: Theoretical and Methodological Concerns.” The Translator 20 (1): 64–80. Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Nadiani, Giovanni
2014 “From La dolce vita to La vita agra: The Image of the Italian Literary Translator as an Illusory, Rebellious and Precarious Intellectual.” In Transfiction: Research into the Realities of Translation Fiction, edited by Klaus Kaindl and Karlheinz Spitzl, 127–139. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Olohan, Maeve
2017 “Technology, Translation and Society: A Constructivist, Critical Theory Approach.” Target 29 (2): 264–283. Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
O’Thomas, Mark
2017 “Humanum ex Machina: Translation in the Post-global, Posthuman World.” Target 29 (2): 284–300. Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Prampolini, Gaetano
2000 “Bianciardi traduttore di narrativa americana: Alla catena di Harvey Swados e Il re della pioggia di Saul Bellow.” In Bianciardi 2000, 60–84.Google Scholar
Pym, Anthony
2009 “Humanizing Translation History.” Hermes 42: 23–48.Google Scholar
Rappazzo, Felice
2000 “Sondaggi testuali su Bianciardi traduttore.” In Bianciardi 2000, 41–59.Google Scholar
Robinson, Douglas
1991The Translator’s Turn. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
1997Becoming a Translator: An Accelerated Course. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
2011Translation and the Problem of Sway. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
2017 “What Kind of Literature is a Literary Translation?Target 29 (3): 440–463. Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Simeoni, Daniel
1998 “The Pivotal Status of the Translator’s Habitus.” Target 10 (1): 1–39. Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Terrosi, Mario
1974Bianciardi com’era (Lettere di Luciano Bianciardi a un amico grossetano). Grosseto: Il paese reale.Google Scholar
Toury, Gideon
1978 “The Nature and Role of Norms in Literary Translation.” In Literature and Translation: New Perspectives in Literary Studies, edited by James S. Holmes, José Lambert and Raymond van den Broeck, 83–100. Leuven: Acco.Google Scholar
1995Descriptive Translation Studies and Beyond. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Venuti, Lawrence
1986 “The Translator’s Invisibility.” Criticism 28 (2): 179–213.Google Scholar
1995The Translator’s Invisibility: A History of Translation. London: Routledge. Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
West, Kevin
2010 “Translating the Body: Towards an Erotics of Translation.” Translation and Literature 19 (1): 1–25. Crossref logoGoogle Scholar