1st Edition

The Role of Translators in Children’s Literature
Invisible Storytellers

ISBN 9780415636438
Published May 30, 2012 by Routledge
258 Pages

USD $62.95

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Book Description

This book offers a historical analysis of key classical translated works for children, such as writings by Hans Christian Andersen and Grimms’ tales. Translations dominate the earliest history of texts written for children in English, and stories translated from other languages have continued to shape its course to the present day. Lathey traces the role of the translator and the impact of translations on the history of English-language children’s literature from the ninth century onwards. Discussions of popular texts in each era reveal fluctuations in the reception of translated children’s texts, as well as instances of cultural mediation by translators and editors. Abridgement, adaptation, and alteration by translators have often been viewed in a negative light, yet a closer examination of historical translators’ prefaces reveals a far more varied picture than that of faceless conduits or wilful censors. From William Caxton’s dedication of his translated History of Jason to young Prince Edward in 1477 (‘to thentent/he may begynne to lerne read Englissh’), to Edgar Taylor’s justification of the first translation into English of Grimms’ tales as a means of promoting children’s imaginations in an age of reason, translators have recorded in prefaces and other writings their didactic, religious, aesthetic, financial, and even political purposes for translating children’s texts.

Table of Contents

List of Figures Series Editor’s Foreword Acknowledgments Preface Introduction Part One 1: Didactic Translation: Religious Texts, Courtesy Books, Schoolbooks and Political Persuasion 2: Popular Fiction in Translation: The Child as Consumer of Romances and Fables in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods 3: Tales of the Marvellous 1690-1760: The Arabian Nights and the French Fairy Tale 4: Imagination, Reason and Mapping the World 1750-1820 5: Religious Stories and the Artful Fairy Tale in the Nineteenth Century 6: The Translating Woman: Assertive Professional or Invisible Storyteller 7: Summary of Part One: Translation Practices and the Child Audience Part Two Introduction 8: Into the Twentieth Century: Classics, the Folk Tale and Internationalism 1870-1940 9: Rewarding Translation for Children: Landmark Translations from 1940 and the Batchelder and Marsh Awards 10: Retranslation in the Twentieth And Twenty-First Centuries: For Children or Adults? 11: Translators’ Voices 12: From Anonymity to Global Marketing: The Role of Translators in Children’s Literature Notes Bibliography Index

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Gillian Lathey is Director of the National Centre for Research in Children’s Literature at Roehampton University London.


"This is the first volume to attempt such a historical study of translation. The variety of works examined and Lathey's readable style make the book an excellent introduction to the often-overlooked role of translators and a solid foundational work for future scholarship in this area. Highly recommended." -- P. J. Kurtz, Minot State University, Choice, January 2011