Storia di un romanzo africano in Italia
Le traduzioni de L’Enfant noir di Camara Laye
The idea from which this study originates is that of bringing together two relevant subjects: Postcolonial Literature and Translation Studies, particularly focusing on translation criticism. The novel L’Enfant noir, by the African writer Camara Laye, was first published in France in 1953. The first Italian translation Io ero un povero negro was brought out in 1956, while the second one Un bambino nero appeared more than thirty years later, in 1993. After a brief introduction on Laye’s novel, its plot and main features, this article will deal with the general frame of Postcolonial African Literature, essential to understand the circumstances in which the novel was received and the reactions it provoked. Later on, the article will focus on the central issue of translation, considered on two levels: the first one dealing with what is external to the text itself, that is to say the paratextual elements, such as title and cover image, and the second one referring to the text itself, affected by different translation strategies and choices. This study is aimed at offering a view on the history of L’Enfant noir in Italy, thus reconstructing the evolution Italian culture went through during the second half of the 20th century. Translation represents a unique insight into the frame of mind of a particular period as well as an extremely influential factor in its shaping. This is why we should highlight its importance and motivate people to translate valuable works again, in order not to lose them and keep them always alive and topical.