The Translator's Choice. "Gulliver's Travels" and Fascism

Elisa Fortunato


This paper studies censorship and self-censorship during the fascist regime and the fine boundary between the two. It focuses, in particular, on the accuracy and adequacy of Gulliver's Travels’ translations in fascist Italy and analyses how responses to the fascist 'revision' system changed depending on law, patronage, and material conditions in which the translators worked (Bassnett, Lefevere).

Jonathan Swifts’ novel was perceived in the beginning just as a critique of the ‘perfidious Albion’ (Gregori). This superficial reading explains why Gulliver's Travels’ was   able to evade censorship and being published in its first unabridged edition precisely during Fascism (1933 Formichi, 1934 Taroni).

Examining the translations issued during the regime we identify different translation strategies that can be interpreted respectively as acts of submission or of resistance to the dominant thinking (Tymoczko). This in turn allows us to discuss more in general the role of ideology as an explicit (censorship) or implicit (self-censorship) component of the translation process.


Literature; Translation; Fascism

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