From Green Gables to Grönkulla: The Metamorphoses of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables in its Various Swedish Translations
This paper examines Swedish translations of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables (1908), a novel that has maintained the status of a children’s classic in the Scandinavian countries for more than a century. I explore the background conditions of this long-lasting reception by analyzing significant differences between source and target text within this series of translations. All the translations have been adapted to the context of their target culture in general and shaped to address an audience of young female readers in particular. Many of the interventions correspond to general patterns in translations for children and reflect contemporary assumptions about the needs of young readers: they emphasize domestication over foreignization and add clarifying comments and explanations to cultural elements unfamiliar to Swedish readers. Some minor inconsistencies point to turbulences within the translation process and highlight the low esteem for children’s fiction within the literary system. Other, more consistent changes can be attributed to programmatic decisions that affect the very premises of Anne of Green Gables. The handling of intertextual references and some major abridgements reveal a tendency to disambiguate the protagonist’s cross-over status between girlhood and adulthood, and clarify her often blurry position between the realms of imagination and reality. This results in the seemingly paradoxical result that the success of Anne of Green Gables in Sweden is founded on decisions that have narrowed down its literary scope.
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