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  • La Retraduction en littérature de jeunesse/Retranslating Children’s Literature ed. by Virginie Douglas and Florence Cabaret
  • Anne Cirella-Urrutia (bio)
La Retraduction en littérature de jeunesse/Retranslating Children’s Literature. Edited by Virginie Douglas and Florence Cabaret. Brussels: P.I.E. Peter Lang, 2014.

This book crosses over children’s literature and translation studies and engages with a phenomenon that has reached its full scope throughout [End Page 114] the twentieth century and into the twenty-first: the retranslation of children’s literature. This collection of nineteen essays written in both French and English succeeds in demonstrating how retranslation studies have contributed to the canonization of children’s books written in these two languages. Specifically, these essays show how both French and English books interact when retranslated into Italian, Romanian, and Swedish, as well as Brazilian Portuguese and Afrikaans. This phenomenon has led to the burgeoning of a body of retranslated texts for children and has contributed greatly to the evolution of the genre internationally. In the introduction, co-editor Florence Cabaret traces a generic and sociolinguistic history pertaining to canonical works, analyzing the many challenges that retranslation entails. She lays the foundations for the main argument of the book and raises the question, “Why should we retranslate?” Both editors proceed to answer this question within five sections examining a range of primary sources that have been retranslated over periods of time and for an ever-changing audience.

Part 1 presents three essays on fairy tales, beginning with the question of why some have been retranslated over and over in Romania. Muguraş Constantinescu convincingly demonstrates how Charles Perrault’s tales have been the object of recurring retranslations, tracing an editorial history from 1873 to 2013. Mostly, he accounts for the ways in which Perrault’s tales have been re-edited into various generic forms (including picture books) and for various purposes: pedagogical, didactic, or parodic. Equally important is Jan Van Coillie’s essay, which surveys a corpus of over two hundred Dutch retranslations of fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm, Perrault, and Hans Christian Andersen since 1900. The causes of these many retranslations are varied and validate the phenomenon: the need to rectify deficiencies, the need to modernize, the need for acceptability, the need to sell and to appeal to a new readership. Van Coillie contends that the reception of the retranslation of tales as cultural literary objects relies on motives such as the ongoing changes in implicit norms and values. Roberta Pederzoli concludes this section with a focus on Perrault’s tales and their retranslation into Italian from 2000 to 2013. Her essay stresses the importance of the re-editing of original translations done by such Italian children’s authors or illustrators as Carlo Collodi as early as 1875. In tracing this trend, Pederzoli shows how these works reinforce and rework the Italian heritage and its connection to French source materials targeting children in order to include a more composite readership of both children and adults.

Part 2 deals with Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book and its translation into French in 1899. Françoise Thau accounts for the causes of its retranslation a century later in France and its publication as Le livre de poche in 1998. Her argument is of the highest relevance to understanding Kipling’s artistic source materials and the challenges that translation into French entails. Audrey Coussy analyzes Kipling’s 1902 Just So Stories and its many [End Page 115] retranslations since its first translation into French in 1903. She extends her linguistic approach to three recent retranslations as additional points of entry for understanding Kipling’s use of orality and musicality. Joachim Zemmour concludes with an essay that deals with J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit (1937) and its retranslation by both Quebecois and French translators Francis Ledoux and Daniel Lauzon in 2012. Using a comparative lens, he contends that a retranslation is deemed necessary.

Part 3 begins with Björn Sundmark’s chapter on the Swedish translations of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its lasting impact in that country, with tables comparing the many editions that accrued from 1917 to 2009 (128...


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pp. 114-117
Launched on MUSE
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