Two Country Wives, Forty Years Apart. Considerations on Retranslating Comedy in Italy


  • Rossana Sebellin Università di Roma "Tor Vergata"



English Restoration drama in general is a relatively neglected field of studies and, as a consequence, is not a particularly widely read literary genre in Italy, but Wycherley’s The Country Wife is a notable exception: there are four translations published between 1961 and 2009, thus making it one of the most persistent presences in the literary market. It is interesting to compare the different editions, and the translations, as part of a disseminating process carrying English drama into the Italian editorial and cultural environment. This paper deals with the first of these translations (by Cesare Foligno, 1961) and the third one (by Stefano Bajma Griga, 2005). The choice of these two specific texts is based on paratextual similarities such as the fact that they are both part of a wider collection of texts as opposed to single volume editions, and there are no parallel texts. The first one is a pioneering translation and the third is, obviously, a retranslation: this difference is taken into account when tools from descriptive translation studies are employed to carry out the comparative analysis.

Keywords: drama translation; retranslation; William Wycherley; The Country Wife; Cesare Foligno; Stefano Bajma Griga