Maria Edgeworth for Italian Readers: An Analysis of Bianca Milesi’s Benedetto (1839)

Carmen María Fernández Rodríguez

Abstract

Maria Edgeworth (1768-1849) was one of the most prominent British writers at the turn of the nineteenth century. In addition to pedagogical essays and feminocentric fiction, this Anglo-Irish authoress produced some tales for children which were quickly translated into a number of European languages. This paper is part of a larger project which considers the reception of Edgeworth’s oeuvre on the Continent, and analyzes the Italian version of one of her last fictions for children, Frank (1822). Bianca Milesi’s rendering of the text into Italian will be studied within the framework of translemic studies. For this purpose, we will contextualize Edgeworth’s educational work and make reference to the impact of Milesi’s books in literary magazines and her relationship with Edgeworth. Though the readers of the source and target texts remain the same, Benedetto is conditioned by Milesi’s personality and historical circumstances. As a result, there is a balance between fidelity to Edgeworth’s Frank regarding the main plot and characterization, and the will to adapt the story to a new context through a number of suppressions which affect the macro and microstructure of the text. There are also some additions, these intended to bring Frank closer to young Italian readers. This article suggests that, rather than a translation, the changes in the target text point to an adaptation of Edgeworth’s narrative.

Keywords

Maria Edgeworth; Translation studies; Italian; Gender studies; Nineteenth-century literature



DOI: https://doi.org/10.14198/raei.2014.27.03