Translation as Stylistic Evolution
Why did Italo Calvino decide to translate Les Fleurs bleues by Raymond Queneau? Was his translation just a way to pay a tribute to one of his models? This study looks at Calvino’s translation from a literary and linguistic perspective: Calvino’s I fiori blu is more than a rewriting and a creative translation, as it contributed to a revolution in his own literary language and style. Translating Queneau, Calvino discovered a new fictional voice and explored the potentialities of his native tongue, Italian. In fact Calvino’s writings show a visible evolution of poetics and style that occurred rather abruptly in the mid 1960s; this sudden change has long been debated. The radical transformation of his style was affected by several factors: Calvino’s new interests in linguistics, in translation theory, and in the act of translation. Translation as Stylistic Evolution analyses several passages in detail and scrutinizes quantitative data obtained by comparing digital versions of the original and Calvino’s translation. The results of such assessment of Calvino’s text-consistency suggest clear interpretations of the motives behind Calvino’s radical and remarkable change of style that are tied to his notion of creative translation.