Colonialism, Children’s Literature and Translation. The Colonial Gaze: A reading of the text and illustrations in Italian versions of The Jungle Books

Rudvin, Mette (2011) Colonialism, Children’s Literature and Translation. The Colonial Gaze: A reading of the text and illustrations in Italian versions of The Jungle Books. Bologna: Centro di Studi Linguistico-Culturali (CeSLiC) e Alma Mater Studiorum, Università di Bologna. ALMADL - Area Sistemi Dipartimentali e Documentali, ISBN 9788898010028. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsacta/3176. In: Quaderni del CeSLiC. Occasional papers A cura di: Miller, Donna Rose. ISSN 1973221X.
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Abstract

This paper investigates if and how colonialist tropes and Victorian values represented in Victorian children’s literature have survived to the present day in Italian translations through revisions, abridgements and illustrations in a text by one of the most representative Victorian authors, Rudyard Kipling, a paragon of the Empire-building period. The paper examines his celebrated The Jungle Books published in 1894 and 1895. The Jungle Books were printed in two volumes containing not only the celebrated Mowgli stories, but also other short stories such as “The White Seal” and “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi”. This paper will be looking exclusively at the series of stories in which Mowgli is the protagonist, and only in the volumes catalogued in the children’s section of libraries, examining how interpersonal relations among the characters, deeply embedded in Kipling’s Victorian convictions, are portrayed. These aspects relate particularly to hierarchy, authority, ‘the Law of the Jungle’, hunting and nature. The paper briefly touches upon how these issues relate to Kipling’s own personal life and his rapport with India, and how they relate to the concept of children’s literature as a modern western literary construction. By examining a range of Italian translations, the paper then questions to what degree these aspects of Kipling’s world view are maintained in translation: if and when they are jettisoned and what this tells us about the circumstances, the agents and the process of translation. In order to examine how the core values of the colonialist period are portrayed in translations of The Jungle Books, the paper will first discuss how these emerge in the original text, especially through the interpersonal relations between Mowgli and the jungle animals. The paper then moves on to examine a sample of Italian translations to see if and how the colonialist subtext(s) are maintained in the translated text and in the accompanying illustrations. Questions that emerge are: ‘How is the ideological dimension in the source text managed in translation, given the powerful educational and informative function and nature of books for children?’ ‘Is the colonial subtext mitigated or emphasized by translators and publishers?’ The paper will attempt to suggest answers to some of these questions.

Abstract
Document type
Monograph (Essay)
Creators
CreatorsAffiliationORCID
Rudvin, Mette
Keywords
Translation, Children's Literature, Kipling, The Jungle Book, Colonial, Illustrations
Subjects
ISSN
1973221X
ISBN
9788898010028
DOI
Deposit date
22 Nov 2011 14:10
Last modified
07 Jul 2015 13:04
URI

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