Emil Holms Kanal 6, 2300 København S, 24, Building: 24.4.45
Project title: Metafiction and pseudotranslation in Nineteenth-century Italian prose fiction.
The thesis examines metafictional strategies connected to the idea of translation (i.e., pseudotranslations of allegedly found manuscripts or the employment of fictional translators) in Italian Nineteenth-century texts which thematise national identity from a linguistic and political viewpoint. I suggest that the lack of a consistent tradition of the novel in Italy, and coincidentally the absence of a unified nation and language, led some authors to seek inspiration from foreign realities, hence employing translation as a topos.
By means of the analysis of my primary texts, I will focus on many aspects that are normally associated with postmodern literature. Pseudotranslations imply the existence of a fictional source text written in another language, thus making it relevant to borrow the term “pseudobiblia” from postmodern literature and the fantastic and dystopian novel. I apply these ways of representation to a different kind of literature, namely that of (pre)Risorgimento and post-unification Italy, that juxtaposes political engagement and literary and linguistic reflection (the Italian language is created by means of a literary effort). My primary texts are novels and short novels that variably play with reality and fiction by interposing a filter (that of a false translation or an invented translator/author) between the story and the real author, which is at the core of the novelistic practice.
My focus is on Manzoni, Foscolo, Cuoco, Settembrini.