Ghosts, Drunkards and Bad Language: Translating the Margins of Nabarun Bhattacharya's Kāṅāl Mālsāṭ (‘The War Cry of the Beggars’)

Carola Erika Lorea

Abstract


This article unfolds some problematic aspects encountered during the translation of Nabarun Bhattacharya's radical novel Kāṅāl Mālsāṭ(2003), published in Italian with the title Gli ammutinati di Calcutta(2016). I focus on the translation of the language of the margins, intended as social, ontological as well as linguistic spaces. The difficulty of translating into Italian the richness of Bengali slang in the semantic field of boozing offers an interesting case to reveal the strategies of a radical translation practice, which resists domestication (Venuti; Spivak) and endorses the unsettling use of sub-standard language(s) in order to translate the bizarre mutiny of Kāṅāl Mālsāṭand the counter-language of its author.

Keywords: Bengali literature; magic realism; reader reception; slang; jargon; social taboo; Italian; horizon of expectations;


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