Onions Strung on the Spire, or What You Can See in the Polish Translation of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities

Anita Kłos

Abstrakt

Despite its title, Invisible Cities (1972) is the most visible book by Italo Calvino. Calvino included visibility in his literary testament, Six Memos for the Next Millennium, as one of the fundamental values of literary creation. He often emphasized the significance of visibility in his writings and pointed out its close connection with exactitude, another value that he felt important for the next millennium. Translated into Polish by Alina Kreisberg, the book was first published in 1975 and republished in 2005 and 2013. The translator, who considers the book a record of an inner journey “around one’s head”, openly admits to having modified various details of Calvino’s images, recognizing that certain terms would sound too exotic, encyclopaedic and elitist in Polish. Her translations of architectural and art historical terms are particularly noteworthy,  leading sometimes to a change in the style of buildings evoked by Calvino’s text. The translator’s decisions make the  images of Invisible Cities even more surrealistic and mythical.

Słowa kluczowe: Italo Calvino, visibility, reception of Italian literature in Poland, image in translation
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