“the bone people” | “Nelle ossa”


The aim of this thesis is to present the translation of a source text (The Bone People, by New Zealand author Keri Hulme) keeping an eye on the context in which literature is produced and that therefore should affect the translator’s approach to the task.
In this thesis I intend to present both the cultural and historical background in which the book saw the light, how such background has influenced its reception from the audience and how the book has become a manifesto of the pure biculturalism expected to replace the post(-)colonial experience in New Zealand literature.


Chapter 1 represents a necessary introduction to the context in which the novel developed as a natural consequence of the historical, cultural and linguistic path starting with the first English settlers and still ongoing today.
In paragraph 1, I introduce translation and its keystones (language and culture) which are both the mean and the aim of such a ‘subordinate’ discipline.
In paragraph 2, I take into consideration the two main aspects – and expressions – of a nation’s and people’s identity: their history and their literature, the latter being also an expression of language evolution.
In paragraph 3, I examine the results of culture merging in literature (written in English) and explore their consequences on the English speaking countries’ publishing markets.
In chapter 2, I present a short analysis of my translating approach both in general and in this specific instance.
Paragraph 1 concerns the editorial evaluation report and a translation note.
In paragraph 2, I present the portion of text I selected for the thesis.
Paragraph 3 is the translation of the above mentioned portion, plus some notes on the text.
In chapter 3, I draw my conclusions about the novel’s publishing potential (paragraph 1) and further considerations on cultural and linguistic differences which are running the risk of being forgotten and thus lost, and the active role translation has in preserving them and keeping them alive (paragraph 2).


The preparation of this thesis would not have been possible without the kind support of all my colleagues and professors during these last intense fifteen months. Therefore my praise to Agnese, Elisa and Olga alongside whom I lived this experience, and all my love and respect to Giovanna and Roberto, who both
succeeded in being leaders and friends through this journey.

A special mention to my former English Lecturer, Malcolm Ayres, who first mentioned this novel to me and whose “kiwi skills” have been paramount in understanding and rendering all the different expressions and idioms (rather obscure, from time to time) in the best possible way.

Heartfelt thanks to Marco Sonzogni, Senior Italian Lecturer at the Victoria University of Wellington and Director of the New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation, that helped me understand some of the crucial sensitivity hues this profession involves.

Last but not least: thanks to all my family and friends, the ones who still believe in my potential, no matter what happens (or if I will - eventually - be able to support myself with this).
I love you guys!