Girls’ Classics and Constraints in Translation: A Case Study of Purifying Adaptation in the Swedish Translation of L.M. Montgomery’s Emily of New Moon

Laura Leden


This case study discusses constraints related to the image of girlhood and gender roles evident in the abridged and adapted Swedish translation of L.M. Montgomery’s girls’ classic Emily of New Moon published in 1955by Gleerups. The 1950s are called the golden age of girls’ books in Sweden because their publication peaked during this period. However, the popularity of girls’ books during the 1950s did not correlate with high status. Adaptation of translations was common, which indicates the low status of the genre. The Swedish translation of Emily of New Moon was adapted for a younger target audience than Montgomery’s original, and abridged to a lower page count required by the publisher series in which the book was included. The publisher imposed didactic constraints on the book, and these constraints are a sign of conservative and protective strategies and authoritarian attitudes. The adaptation reflects what kind of books the publisher wanted to present to girls, and largely involves purification of unconventional behavior and sexuality. This was consistent with didactic translation norms, reflected in the origin of girls’ books in educational literature. The translation presents a clear, unambiguous and conventional model for the appropriate behavior of girls, and female characters represent more restrictive gender roles than in the original.


L.M. Montgomery; Emily book series; girls’ books; girls’ fiction; translation; abridgment; adaptation; purification; norms; gender roles

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Barnboken – Journal of Children's Literature Research eISSN 2000-4389
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