Space and Language in 'Mr Scobie's Riddle': translating displacement into Italian

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This paper analyses from both a narratological and a translational point of view the displacement felt by the patients of the St Christopher and St Jude nursing homes in Elizabeth Jolley’s Mr Scobie’s Riddle. It draws from doctoral research on Jolley’s novel, which I am translating into Italian and which I have selected because of the challenge it presents in maintaining the variety of sociolects, stylistic peculiarities, and different narrative frames in my translation. The displacement of the patients will be investigated in depth and two broad categories will be identified through which displacement is channeled in the novel. These are: the contrast between indoors and outdoors and the use of key words such as ‘home’, ‘house’ and ‘place’ together with their different degrees of attachment to architectural spaces. Furthermore, this paper will investigate the way in which these concepts and key words are not always easily maintained in translation. The anisomorphism between English and Italian makes this operation arduous, because there is no absolute one-to-one correspondence between any two languages. For example, Italian only presents one option—‘casa’ for both ‘home’ and ‘house’—while the English term ‘place’ also creates translation problems, so that we risk quantitative impoverishment, destruction of the underlying networks of signification and major repercussions on the theme of displacement if both terms are translated with the same translatant. In this article I will suggest compensation strategies to overcome these issues.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
JournalJournal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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