Monday 03rd of October 2022


Food across time and space: Pinocchio and its English translations
Silvia Masi, University of Pisapdf_icon_30x30

Abstract: This article focuses on the study of food lexis in Le Avventure di Pinocchio. Storia di un Burattino (Collodi 1981/1883) and in seven of the work’s major British and American English translations published over a period of around 130 years. Pinocchio is a transnational classic of children’s literature that ideally addresses a dual audience (O’Sullivan 1993, Lathey 2006). Food and hunger are often ‘evoked’ in the story (Belpoliti 2003 inter alia) and appear to perform two functions: 1) contribute to the portrayal of the Italian culture and society of the time, and 2) enhance children’s involvement through imagined perceptual experiences primarily (although not exclusively) based on taste and smell. In fact, preserving both functions in translation is quite difficult, as maintaining the culture-specific quality of the original entails placing less emphasis on young readers’ expectations in the target cultures, while assimilating original items to the target background inevitably involves variable loss of original details. The analysis displays different translation strategies at work in the various texts. More recent American versions, in particular, appear to be more open to foreign influences and contaminations, probably reflecting a higher degree of recognition and integration of originally foreign cuisine in a cosmopolitan setting.



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