Translated Local Cultures. Swedish Proletarian Realism in English Translation
Departing from the assumption that Swedish proletarian writers were, among other things, devoted to writing a local culture, this project examines the ways in which textual signs of locality transform as the novels are translated into English. The literary material includes eleven works: Harry Martinson’s Kap Farväl and Nässlorna blomma, Vilhelm Moberg’s trilogy on Knut Toring, Eyvind Johnson’s Nu var det 1914, Jan Fridegård’s Jag, Lars Hård, Moa Martinson’s Kvinnor och äppelträd and Mor gifter sig, and Ivar Lo-Johansson’s Godnatt, jord and Bara en mor. The selection is thus limited to the so called ’golden age’ of Swedish working class fiction – the 1930s – and a distinct moment in the history of Swedish literary publishing, but the study of its translational history in the UK and the US will cover a much longer period – from 1934 to 1991 – and quite a wide range of different publishing contexts and conditions.
The broader aim of the study is to show the complex relationship between a peripheral and a central literary sphere. Since the novels at hand have a very central position in the Swedish literary history, a key issue will be to discuss the processes of relocation from a central position in the periphery to a peripheral position at the cultural centre. By addressing a variety of aspects – recontextualisation, translational styles and strategies, intercultural relations, thematic transformations, and changes in hermeneutic conditions – the project aims at painting a broad picture of this kind of literary migration.