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Roberta De Santis (University of Bari, Italy)

Translation of Poetry: Cultural Rediscovery of Irish Identity

Starting from the interdisciplinary approach of Translation Studies, this paper, based on research in progress for a PhD thesis, will highlight the functional role of verse translation in an area of conflict, Ireland, as a medium to regain cultural and linguistic national identity. In the light of the very complex historical, political and literary context of Ireland during the years of the battle for the Home Rule (1880-1914) up to the declaration of the Irish Free State (1922), I will venture to give the reasons for the production of poetic translations from Irish into English. The hypothesis is that the selection was the outcome of a strategic and thoughtful study of traditional and mythical Irish heritage of the old poetic works, through which Irish people would have had the chance to revive the ancient Irish language and rediscover the lost cultural national identity of the "Hidden Ireland". Among the Irish poets, very few were able to write original verses in their mother tongue, many others turned to translation in order to maintain contact with their native tradition, by learning from the past on which they could rewrite the literary future of Ireland. In the last part of the paper, the discussion will focus on the reasons behind the choice of critical metatexts as the guidelines for the empirical analysis of the content and thematic aspects of translated poetic works: a corpus composed of 30 reviews written in English and published on selected literary magazines during the time I refer to. Through the texts of the critical readings of translations, as Sherlock Holmes's magnifying glass, the aim is to investigate and shed light on those concepts of nationhood, identity and linguistic power widely discussed during an era of bitter conflict between Irish and English people and languages. KEYWORDS: history of poetic translation in Ireland, interdisciplinarity of Translation Studies, politics of translation, reviews of translation, translation and conflict, Irish poetry and national identity.

Roberta De Santis was born in 1979 in Bari, Italy. In 2004 she graduated in English Literature at the Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, University of Bari, with a thesis on Jean Rhys. She is currently a PhD student in Translation Studies at the University of Bari under the supervision of Prof. Luisa Pontrandolfo and Dr. Sara Laviosa. Her research interests focus on the history of literary and cultural translation in Ireland (1890-1922), with particular reference to the investigation of the reviews of literary translations published on selected literary magazines and periodicals, i.e. The Lyceum, The Gaelic Journal, The New Ireland Review and Studies. An Irish Quarterly Review.