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"Magic by the Book": Speech and Intertextuality in Translation

By B.E. Wijnstekers


"Magic by the Book" is a children's book about magic, the border between realism and fantasy, an adventure story in which children must use their imagination and knowledge of older stories to direct the plot to a good ending. The story deals with an American family with three siblings, the protagonists Anne, Emily and Will Thornton, age eleven, nine and six respectively. Summer holidays have started, and loaded with library books, the girls are having a reading fest in the garden. Then the sisters find a mysterious book they cannot remember having borrowed, read the first page and literally find themselves characters in the book. In the first adventure story, Anne and Emily land in a Robin Hood legend. The second adventure has Will become the hero of a fantasy land inhabited by gigantic insects, and the last adventure sees the three siblings unraveling mysterious business in Tolstoy’s "War and Peace" (1869). In this thesis, I will analyze the speech patterns of some of the major characters in the first adventure, which is based on the ballad “Robin Hood Rescuing Will Stutely” (Child, Ballad 141). I will show that sometimes sentences are too rich or complicated for the target group (ten-year-old Dutch children) and give solutions with examples from my translation. Moreover, intertextuality plays an instrumental part in the Robin Hood legend. Not only intertexts, but also literary and historical references, names and places possess intertextual qualities that need special consideration. Consequently, I will present translation methods I wish to apply, drawn from the works Göte Klingberg published in 1986. Following that, I will give a few examples and possible solutions based on my translation and demonstrate again that some references to intertextuality are too difficult

Topics: Letteren, Children's literature, translation, intertextuality, speech patterns, Robin Hood, adventure and fantasy
Year: 2009
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