An Orderly Beauty

The Translations of the Publishing House Laterza during the Fascist Regime

Elisa Fortunato    Università degli Studi di Bari «Aldo Moro», Italia    



Laterza publishing house became one of the leading publishers in Italy between 1920 and 1945. Giovanni Laterza, its founder, in strict cooperation with Benedetto Croce, brought to Italy several foreign novels and philosophical essays. The idea lying behind this policy was to forge in the country a critical mass of ideal European readers, able to break the Italian cultural marginality and create new literary canons. This paper focuses, in particular, on the policy of Laterza publishing house, and analyses how responses to the fascist ambiguous ‘revision’ system changed depending on law, patronage, and material conditions in which the translators worked. After tracing a map of the whole corpus of foreign works (philosophical, historical and scientific) published by the Italian publisher, the focus moves to the five English literature translations issued during the regime (Milton’s Aereopagitica; Huxley’s The Olive Tree; Boswell’s The Life of Samuel Johnson; Well’s A Short History of the Word; More’s Utopia), with particular attention paid to Huxley’s The Olive Tree translated in 1939 by Ada Prospero Gobetti. Analyzing the unpublished correspondence among the translators, Laterza and Croce, and through a close reading of Huxley’s book and its translation, it was possible to identify both the policy of the publisher and the different translation strategies adopted, that reflect respectively submission or resistance to the dominant thinking. This in turn made it possible to discuss more in general the role of ideology as an explicit (censorship) or implicit (self-censorship) component of the translation process.

Sept. 30, 2016
June 27, 2016
April 10, 2016

Keywords: TranslationCensorship

Copyright: © 2016 Elisa Fortunato. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.