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Friday, June 10, 2011

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You know I particularly love Elizabeth Gaskell and I've often written about her works and their adaptations. Just click on the tag Mrs Gaskell or North and South at the bottom of this post, to get an idea.  I always teach about her to my last year students, reading Mary Barton or North and South with them. Why am I mentioning her again? Because I've just finished reading an excerpt of the first  unabridged Italian translation of her North and South  that  will be soon published by Jo March Edizioni.  (HERE)

North and South appeared as a twenty-two-part weekly serial from September 1854 through January 1855 in the magazine Household Words, edited by Charles Dickens. So it was rather time: 1855 -2011.

The majority of Italian readers still have to discover Elizabeth Gaskell and, especially, her Margaret and Thornton. So I'm so incredibly happy for this next publication, that I wanted to share with you, whatever language you speak.

We can read Cranford or Mary Barton in Italian, and only recently even Ruth, by Mrs Gaskell. But not yet North and South,  or Wives and Daughters. I'm rather stunned at this incredible, unforgivable, omission of our academic world. What have all the professors, researchers, assistants in the English Departments of the many universities in Italy been doing? 

Many university students in the Departments of Foreign Languages study Gaskell's novels and for their final projects (to get their degrees) they are asked to translate unknown contemporary African, New Zealander, Canadian, Australian writers. Nothing, I really mean NO-THING, against writers of any nationality but ... what about poor forgotten Mrs Gaskell?
North and South is definitely a classic novel which can be read and liked for many reasons by Italian readers, one of them being the fact that we have a long rooted cultural clash between the traditionally industrialised North and the more agricultural (especially in the past) South.

To be honest, we had a translation of North and South. One, abridged and dating back to the 1960s, by Ada Borrelli , published by Casa Editrice Giuseppe Principato. If I were a good translator, I'd like to translate all of Gaskell's novels and I'd propose them to a great Italian publisher. But I'm not that good and I'm too busy doing so many other activities. Now, this is why I'm very happy and grateful to Jo March Edizioni.
Have a look at the excerpt they have on their site, leaf through the few pages from chapter VII narrating Margaret and Thornton's first encounter: New scenes and faces,"Scenari e volti nuovi" . Even though you can't read Italian, do it, as it  is part of a very special, longed for project!

Then, I do hope, sooner or later, Italian TV will discover BBC North and South, the  televised version of Gaskell's novel ( 2004 ). I hope this is going to happen before it becomes a museum piece!

Richard Armitage (John Thornton) and Daniela Denby-Ashe (Margaret Hale) 

Compare the translation with the original HERE


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