This paper examines Monica Pavani’s ‘ferrying’ of the (Q/q)ueen’s voice in The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett across languages/cultures in the light of translation as a creative form of writing. The focus is on the translation of ‘style’, which is used here as a rough equivalent of Halliday’s ‘tenor’ and may be intended in a context of literary sociolinguistics as variation within a specific character’s language use, i.e. as intra-character variation according to addressee. Looked upon in this way, style can be said to represent the central component in the construction of each character’s social identity and specific language choices thus become indexes of different levels of closeness/inclusion and distance/exclusion and community-belonging. Translation of such choices across languages irremediably results into building up different identities and social relationships in target texts, thus often making the same book speak different languages across different cultures. The overall aim of the paper is to show how, while the recent focus on feminist intervention certainly helps to detect certain practices of “hijacking”, recourse to the tools of literary sociolinguistics can contribute to become aware of other, (sometimes) less overt, forms of text re-appropriation and re-purposing.
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