Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Wāhine: antologia annotata di poetesse neozelandesi contemporanee in traduzione italiana

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posted on 2021-12-09, 07:12 authored by Francesca Benocci

This thesis is a case study in literary translation. It consists of a creative component (60%) — an anthology of contemporary New Zealand women poetry translated into Italian — and a critical component (40%) — an interdisciplinary commentary outlining the historical, linguistic, cultural, literary and translational aspects underpinning my work as editor, literary translator and scholar. My interest in New Zealand literature began with my Master’s thesis, when reading Keri Hulme’s 1985 Booker Prize winning novel the bone people exposed me to the linguistic and cultural specificities of literary works produced in Aotearoa/New Zealand. This interest was further ignited by reading Marinella Rocca Longo’s pioneering study of New Zealand poetry, La poesia neozelandese dalle origini inglesi ai contemporanei, published in 1977. To this day, Hulme’s novel remains untranslated in Italian and Rocca Longo’s monograph is the only comprehensive study about New Zealand poetry for an Italian-speaking readership, one with which I have engaged constructively and critically in the course of my studies. This doctoral thesis thus combines translation and poetry. More specifically, it asks itself what it means to translate contemporary New Zealand women poets into Italian. This choice is motivated by three aims, which complement the wider ambition to make New Zealand writing better known to Italian readers: to better reflect the ethnic richness of New Zealand literature; to highlight the major role played by women in developing and expanding New Zealand poetry; to discuss translation theory from a post-colonial and feminist viewpoint. These factors are reflected in the structure and contents of this thesis. A historical overview of New Zealand literature in general and of New Zealand poetry in particular as an example of post-colonial literature is followed by a discussion on which theories and practices of translation are ethically as well as aesthetically the most appropriate for the translation of post-colonial poetry written by women. The comprehensive anthology I have compiled and the commentary that accompanies it bring this discussion to life, celebrating not only the creative and scholarly contribution of the translator as an intercultural negotiator, but also the ethical responsibility underscoring this task. The opportunity to undertake this research in Aotearoa/New Zealand has made this study particularly intense as well as personal, as I negotiated and renegotiated the space between theory and practice, pushing myself to expand and deepen the choices a translator is called to make as a reader, as an interpreter, as a critic, and as a writer. I hope that this goal has been achieved in the negotiation between the theoretical, scholarly and creative parts of this project that are embodied in the outcome of this thesis.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

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Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



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Alternative Title

Wāhine: an Annotated Anthology of Contemporary New Zealand Women Poets in Italian Translation

Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Languages and Cultures


Sonzogni, Marco; Bernardi, Claudia