TRANSLATING ITALO CALVINO: HOW CLOSE READING AND COMPARISONS CAN ILLUMINATE THEORETICAL PRINCIPLES OF THE TRANSLATION PROCESS
I have chosen to translate passages from two works by Italo Calvino (1923-1985) into English. The first, a novel, was his first publication, Il sentiero dei nidi di ragno, Torino: Einaudi, October 1947. Two English translations of it have been published: the first, The Path to the Nest of Spiders by Archibald Colquhoun, London: Jonathan Cape, 1956, and the second, The Path to the Spiders’ Nests (including the author’s 1964 Preface, translated by William Weaver), by Martin McLaughlin, New York: Random House, 1998. It is the first of these that I have used as a comparison with my own translation. Interestingly, Colquhoun’s translation was re-published by Penguin in 2009 in a form revised by McLaughlin. Colquhoun (1912-1964) was a leading early translator of modern Italian literature into English. As well as those of Calvino, his translations of Manzoni and Lampedusa were highly successful. He was the first recipient of the PEN Translation prize.