Darja Leskovar

Slovenian translations of American fiction: a gateway to American heritage and the history of the southern part of Central Europe

Prof. Darja Mazi-Leskovar, Slovenia

My contribution will give an overview of the translations of the American quality literary texts which have passed into the repository of Slovenian children’s literature.

The translations of American prose from the mid - 19th century to the last decade of the 20th century prove that the cultural information from the ‘New world’ was always presented in such a way that it met the expectations of the targeted traditional Central European reading public. This contribution will also illustrate how the choice of books to be translated into the Slovenian language was conditioned by the cultural and political contexts.

These were radically changed every time the authority over Slovenian territory changed. In 150 years radical changes occurred four times: with the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, with the capitulation of the Old Yugoslavia, with the surrender of the occupying forces, with the attainment of independence of the Republic of Slovenia. Special stress will moreover be put on the presentation of those thematic elements of translated works that, due to their foreignizing effect, generated genuine interest for the United States of America, its people and natural environments.
The aim of this contribution is thus to show that translations of American books which have become an integral part of the Slovenian literature are important mainly for two reasons: first, because they brought American literature, culture and locale closer to Slovenians, and second, because they also contributed to the increasing awareness of the diversity of the cultures of the world, and of the necessity to build bridges among peoples of various traditions.

Darja Mazi – Leskovar
PhD, is associate professor at Maribor University, Slovenia. She teaches ESP at the Media department. Her research interests are particularly related to the history of literature, cross-over books and young adult books. She enjoys dealing with issues related to crosscultural phenomena reflected in literature and other media. Her research is therefore focused also on picturebooks and on translations.
Darja Leskovar
Betnavska 34
SI -2000 Maribor
E-mail: darja.leskovar@uni-mb.si