In the 1930s translation became a key issue in the cultural politics of the Fascist regime due to the fact that Italy was publishing more translations than any other country in the world. Making use of extensive archival research, the author of this new study examines this 'invasion of translations' through a detailed statistical analysis of the translation market. The book shows how translations appeared to challenge official claims about the birth of a Fascist culture and cast Italy in a receptive role that did not tally with Fascist notions of a dominant culture extending its influence abroad. The author shows further that the commercial impact of this invasion provoked a sustained reaction against translated popular literature on the part of those writers and intellectuals who felt threatened by its success. He examines the aggressive campaign that was conducted against the Italian Publishers Federation by the Authors and Writers Union (led by the Futurist poet F. T. Marinetti), accusing them of favouring their private profit over the national interest. Finally, the author traces the evolution of Fascist censorship, showing how the regime developed a gradually more repressive policy towards translations as notions of cultural purity began to influence the perception of imported literature.
In the fascist regimes of the mid twentieth century – this volume the focuses on Italy, Germany, Spain and Portugal – translation was a carefully, though not always successfully, managed cultural practice. Translation policies attempted to steer public perceptions and promote or brake ideological change.
Translation Under Fascism examines translation practices under fascism within their historical context – from publishers' biographies, institutional constraints and long-term literary trends right down to the textual choices made by translators and editors in individual translations. All these aspects of a translation analysis allow insight into the workings of international cultural exchange in times of dictatorship, and are of interest equally to translation scholars and historians of culture in the periods concerned.
The spectrum of translation policies and practices presented here indicates different paradigms, different obsessions and different institutional frameworks, but also shared rhetorical motifs such as the ideas of translation as a cultural weapon and translation as a form of cultural contamination.