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Virginia Woolf and Italian Readers

Project description

How was Virginia Woolf received in Italy?

Virginia Woolf is regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures in the 20th century. The EU-funded ItalianWoolf project will explore how she was translated, published, reviewed and studied in Italy, shedding light on the role fascist censorship played in the first translation and dissemination of her writing and investigating the role of her work in the feminist movements as well as how she became a cultural icon in Italy. The work of the project will lead to the first multi-media comprehensive study of her reception in Italian culture and contribute to the scholarly interest in the reception of anglophone modernist writers in European literary marketplaces.


This project examines the reception of Virginia Woolf in Italy and it will lead to the first multi-media comprehensive study of her reception in Italian culture. Employing an archive-based interdisciplinary approach drawing on reception studies, periodical studies, publishing history, the project will trace the waves of her reception, from Fascism to the present. To do so, it will examine the key stages of Woolf’s reception in relation to the political, cultural and institutional factors that influenced publishers and translators over the years and it will map out the publishers, translators, and cultural gate-keepers that patronised Woolf’s works in the Italian context. The project will focus on the censorship mechanisms put in place by Fascism and how Woolf translators challenged them; the circulation of Woolf works in the post-war Neorealist phase; the role her work played in the rise of the Italian feminist movements in the 1970s; and finally how, since the late 1990s, the reception of the transmedial adaptations of her work consolidated Woolf as a cultural icon in Italy. In addition to traditional scholarly outputs, this project will create a digital open-access database which will serve as a research tool for scholars, students and the lay public. Woolf’s work will be considered a litmus test for key moments of change in the Italian cultural industry. The study of Woolf’s Italian reception will, in turn, contribute to the growing scholarly interest in the reception of Anglophone Modernist writers in European literary marketplaces by embracing the recent calls to globalise the reach of Anglophone modernism and by affirming how peripheral and context-specific concerns help to reconsider the adaptability of modernist innovations and to question the idea that transfers occur in a friction-less cultural vacuum. To this end, the Italian case will offer substantive methodological concerns and empirical evidence to rethink the framework of global modernism studies.


Net EU contribution
€ 224 933,76
RG6 6AH Reading
United Kingdom

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South East (England) Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Berkshire
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 224 933,76