Italianistica Bucarestina 1 - Translation in Totalitarian Regimes. Linguistic, Literary and Historical Aspects

Call for Papers
September 22, 2023 to September 23, 2023
Subject Fields: 
Literature, Linguistics, Languages, Italian History / Studies, Intellectual History

We invite scholars of Italian studies to reflect upon translation under totalitarian regimes in  a linguistic, literary, and historical perspective. Our main interest lies in situations occurred in  dictatorships, such as fascist Italy, or communist Romania. Institutional censorship, in many  different forms, dealt with translations, the daily press, literary works, theatrical performances,  films, and generally with any public cultural manifestation and product. Self-censorship occurred  alongside the institutional one and served as a psychological mechanism of defense against  possible repercussions and political persecutions.  

The legal and institutional frameworks of the institutions entrusted in the totalitarian regimes  with censorship as a repressive tool varied in forms and time. The same may be said about  translations from foreign languages, e.g., from Italian into Romanian. This provides scholars with  a wide range of topics on the issue of translations from Italian in different eras and under different  types of totalitarianism. In fascist Italy, until 1938, the actions of the government were generally  limited to individual cases and led to self-censorship. Nevertheless, after 1938 the control of  national publications and that of contacts with foreign literatures, translations included, became  tighter. 

In communist Romania, censorship was meant to align all cultural deeds to the official  ideology and thus conditioned creators. The field of Italian studies was controlled by institutions  entrusted with or acting as censorship, such as the General Directorate for Press and Publications  and, since 1967, the State Committee for Culture and Art. When dealing with the translations from  Italian into Romanian, one notes that left-leaning contemporary writers were preferred. The same  may be said about authors dealing with the social problems of peasants and workers, or those who  openly criticized the capitalist world. As a matter of interest for researchers, fragments that were  not considered as compatible with the communist ideology were eliminated even from classical texts (e.g., Galileo Galilei’s Dialogo dei massimi sistemi). 

The response of the specialists involved in literary production, translation, publishing and  entertainment ranged from the abandonment of the cultural field to the refusal to publish their own  works, and from circulating literary works in restricted circles (for the in the case of writers and  poets), to taking refuge in translations instead of publishing personal works.  

Both for translations and original literary texts, the pressure exercised by the regime  stimulated the elaboration of linguistic and publishing strategies that evaded coercion. At the  linguistic level, censorship strategies (or attempts to evade censorship) ranged from the use of  synonymy, euphemism, etc. to the presence, in the critical apparatus, of interpretations aligned to  the official discourse or of quotations from works and authors promoted or even imposed by the  political power. The use of various stylistic interventions of greater or lesser importance  (embellishment, elimination of inconvenient references, such as the mention of religious terms) must also be mentioned. Furthermore, the paratext itself was exploited for propaganda purposes.  Not even classics such as The Divine Comedy were spared. Prefaces and notes often contained  canonical quotations from Marx and Engels, whilst interpretations that altered the text from an  ideological point of view were also present. 

In some cases, the translation and attention given to certain major translations from Italian literature, made use of both the cultural as well as political status of cultural personalities.  For Italian studies, the main example was that of Alexandru Balaci, a well-known professor,  essayist, and translator, but also a member of the communist establishment.

Possible, but not restricted, topics include: 

Linguistic mechanisms of censorship; 

Manipulation and politicization of literature; 

Censorship and self-censorship in translations; 

Prohibited works, tolerated works, endorsed works; 

Translations and translators in totalitarian regimes; 

Translation strategies to avoid censorship; 

Paratext and manipulation: notes, prefaces, introductions, reviews; 

Institutional mechanisms of censorship and legal issues; 

Actors of cultural mediation in totalitarian regimes. 

Prospective participants are kindly invited to submit their proposals in Italian or English by filling  in the form available at by 5 May 2023 (see further  details on filling out the form below). 


Baghiu, Ștefan; Sass, Maria; Pojoga, Vlad (eds.), The Culture of Translation in Romania/  Übersetzungskultur und Literaturübersetzen in Rumänien, Berlin: Peter Lang, 2018. Baghiu, Ștefan; Olaru, Ovio, Terian, Andrei (eds.), Beyond the Iron Curtain: Revisiting the  Litterary System of Communist Romania, Berlin: Peter Lang, 2021. 

Billiani, Francesca (ed.), Modes of Censorship and Translation. National Contexts and Diverse  Media, Manchester: St Jerome, 2007. 

Corobca, Liliana, Controlul cărții. Cenzura literaturii în regimul comunist din România,  București: Cartea Românească, 2014. 

Cunico, Sonia, Munday, Jeremy (eds.), Translation and Ideology: Encounters and Clashes,  Special Issue of The Translator 13(2), 2007. 

Esposito, Edoardo, Con altra voce. La traduzione letteraria tra le due guerre, Roma: Donzelli,  2018. 

Ferrando, Anna (a cura di), Stranieri all’ombra del Duce: le traduzioni durante il fascismo,  Milano: Franco Angeli, 2019. 

Gigli Marchetti, Ada, Finocchi, Luisa (a cura di), Editori e lettori. La produzione libraria in Italia  nella prima metà del Novecento, Milano: FrancoAngeli, 2000. 

Hermans, Theo (ed.), The Manipulation of Literature. Studies in Literary Translation, London &  Sydney: Croom Helm, 1985. 

Lefevere, André, Translation, Rewriting and the Manipulation of Literary Fame, London & New  York: Routledge, 1992. 

Lungu-Badea, Georgiana, Traductions d’hier, traductions d’aujourd’hui. Quelques  considérations générales sur la traduction roumaine à l’époque communiste, suivies d’un mini  inventaire des traductions du roman français (1960-1968), in “Etudes Interdisciplinaires en  sciences humaines”, n. 4, Tbilisi: 2017,

Luti, Giorgio, La letteratura nel ventennio fascista. Cronache letterarie tra le due guerre, 1920- 1940, Scandicci: La Nuova Italia, 1995. 

Rundle, Christopher, Le traduzioni nella storiografia sul fascismo, in “Tradurre. Pratiche, teorie,  strumenti”, n. 20, 2021,,  accessed 8.11.2022. 

Rundle, Cristopher, Monticelli, Daniele, Lange, Anne (eds). Translation under Communism,  London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2022.

Popa, Ioana. “Translation and Communism in Eastern Europe”, in Fruela Fernandez in “The  Routledge Handbook of Translation and Politics”, Fruela Fernandez; Jonathan Evans (eds.),  London: Routledge, 2018, pp.424-441. 

Scientific Committee 

Mirella Agorni, Professor, Università Ca’ Foscari di Venezia 

Smaranda Bratu Elian, Professor, University of Bucharest 

Alberto Casadei, Professor, Università degli Studi di Pisa 

Dan Octavian Cepraga, Professor, Università di Padova 

Muguraș Constantinescu, Professor, University of Suceava 

Doina Derer, Professor, University of Bucharest 

Marco Dotti, Associate Professor, University of Pavia 

Monica Fekete, Associate Professor, University “Babeș Bolyai” of Cluj-Napoca Georgiana Lungu-Badea, Professor, University of Timișoara 

Bruno Mazzoni, Professor, Università di Pisa 

Roberto Merlo, Associate Professor, Università di Torino 

Stefano Ondelli, Professor, Università degli Studi di Trieste 

Lorenzo Renzi, Professor, Università di Padova 

Oana Sălișteanu, Professor, University of Bucharest 

Angela Tarantino, Professor, Università di Roma “La Sapienza” 

Carlo Varotti, Professor, Università di Parma 


Corina Anton, Associate Professor 

Aurora Firța-Marin, Senior Lecturer 

Anamaria Gebăilă, Associate Professor 

Technical Details 

Prospective participants are invited to submit the participation form in Italian or in English,  available at by 5 May 2023

Required information: 

• Name and surname  

• Email address 

• University or organization 

• Title  

• Abstract (max. 500 words) 

• Keywords (3-5 words) 

• Bibliography (3-5 titles) 

• Presentation of the speaker (max. 150 words) 

Please Note: It is not necessary to sign in to one’s Google Account to fill out the form, unless one  wants to save the progress. 

The conference will take place in presence.  

Conference languages



Participation fee: 

80 Euro / 400 Lei to be paid by August 31st 2023; 

Bank account: IBAN RO69BTRLRONCRT0661813701; SWIFT: BTRLRO22 To be mentioned: “conference Italian studies”. 

The payment can be made in RON or in EURO. 

The participation fee includes: 

• conference folder; 

• coffee breaks; 

• lunches; 

• publication of the proceedings after evaluation by the scientific committee. 


5 May 2023: submission of the proposals 

1 June 2023: communication of the evaluation from the Scientific Committee 31 August 2023: registration fee payment deadline 

22-23 September 2023: conference 

For further information please contact 

The event is organized under the patronage of the Embassy of Italy in Romania.  


Department of Romance Languages, Classical Studies and Modern Greek, University of  Bucharest 

Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, University of Bucharest 

Institutional partners  

Italian Institute, Bucharest 

Academy of Romania in Rome 

Center of Compared Linguistics and Cognitivism, University of Bucharest


Contact Info: 

Comitato organizzativo del convegno: 

Corina Anton:
Aurora Firța-Marin:  
Anamaria Gebăilă: