Dig Her Text Deep To Draw My Text Out! Translating-exploring Dionne Brand's Land

Sara Fruner


My paper will relate my deep challenging experience as Dionne Brand’s Italian translator, swinging from theory to practice. I will deal with the two novels I worked on, "At the Full and Change of the Moon" and "What We All Long For", focussing on the main issues the texts have led me to face. To begin with, "At the Full and Change of the Moon" requires that its translator be aware of the roles of intertextuality and intratextuality in the narration. Regarding the former, intertextuality, I will examine the function of Thomas Jefferys’s notes into text; the double revision — both verbal and historic — performed by Kamena’s tongue; how vital it is to keep in translation the abrogation-appropriation deranging process the maroon carries out on both language and history, by taking the cartographer’s words to himself, and by mangling them. Whereas for the latter, intratextuality, I plan to explore the mapping of semic signs — specific terms, phrases, repetitions — which intersperse the text, and prove to be connected exegetically to the epic loop-like nature of the novel, with the past reiterating into the present, characters into characters, words into words. The topic I will tackle by surveying "What We All Long For" from a translator’s perspective, is Brand’s craftsmanship with the poetic word as well as the spoken speech. Her ability to browse registers and voices, switching from lyricism to colloquialism, refined prose to slang talk, declining contents and forms, builds a pluri-expressive palimpsest-shaped architecture of language, in which different languages meet, overlap and coexist. Translating Brand’s tongues allows the translator to realise how, in this polyphonic orchestra/tion of voices, each word is essential to the harmony of the whole; how each word is a world of its own.


translation, Toronto, Black Canada

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