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Science Fiction, Cultural Industrialization and the Translation of Techno-Science in Post-World War II Italy

Iannuzzi, Giulia

A wave of translations of Anglo-American science fiction characterized the Italian publishing market during the years of the ‘economic miracle’ (1950s–1960s). Starting from an assessment of quantitative data about science fiction novels published in specialized series, the article discusses the agency of publishers and editors in shaping and marketing ideas of genre, in terms of selection of texts to be translated, adaptation through the paratextual apparatus and translation strategies. Translations in popular series were in fact characterized by a vast range of domestication and manipulation phenomena. A close reading of a number of cases reveals a complex series of motives at work behind these practices: from the adaptation to a readership younger than the original one – and/or believed by the publishers to be less culturally prepared – to economic factors, as the physical characteristics of each book were strictly standardized, and issues of cost and seriality often took precedence over artistic considerations.

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