The impact of censorship on the translation and publication of Virginia Woolf in Italy in the 1930s


  • Anna Maria Cipriani


Defined as “the decade of translations”, the 1930s saw the publication of Virginia
Woolf’s novels Orlando, Flush, and To the lighthouse in Italian. In the cultural and political context of Fascism, this is unexpected, given the peculiarities of Woolf’s experimental prose. Italian literary criticism was firmly founded on a normative anti-modernist canon, supported by both the Catholic Church, which decried modernism and excommunicated some modernist writers, and by the literary movement led by the anti-Fascist and liberal philosopher Benedetto Croce. This de facto intellectual dictatorship complemented the official cultural policy of the Fascist regime by generating another dimension of censorship that invariably affected the publication of periodicals and books. The present work focuses on the effects of this triple (political, moral, and literary) censorship on the first translation of To the lighthouse.