The Role of Translators in Children’s Literature

Invisible Storytellers

By Gillian Lathey

© 2011 – Routledge

242 pages

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Paperback: 9780415636438
pub: 2012-05-29
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Hardback: 9780415989527
pub: 2010-06-22
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About the Book

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.

Reviews

"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

"A welcome contribution to the field."

- Gaby Thomson-Wohlgemuth, Journal of the British Section of the International Board of Books for Young People

"Lathey's book is an important first step and it fills a gap in the field of translation studies. One can only hope that soon there will be such books for other languages/cultures as well, and that other researchers will continue the task Lathey has begun."

- B.J. Epstein, University of East Anglia, UK

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

About the Author

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

About the Series

Children's Literature and Culture

Founded by Jack Zipes in 1994, Children's Literature and Culture is the longest-running series devoted to the study of children’s literature and culture from a national and international perspective. Dedicated to promoting original research in children’s literature and children’s culture, in 2011 the series expanded its focus to include childhood studies, and it seeks to explore the legal, historical, and philosophical conditions of different childhoods. An advocate for scholarship from around the globe, the series recognizes innovation and encourages interdisciplinarity. Children's Literature and Culture offers cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections considering topics such as gender, race, picturebooks, childhood, nation, religion, technology, and many others. Titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LIT000000
LITERARY CRITICISM / General
LIT009000
LITERARY CRITICISM / Children's Literature