Let's talk about the new translation of The Fellowship of the Ring by Ottavio Fatica: when will it come out and what changes should we expect?

After much effort and many, too many controversies, the release of The Fellowship of the Ring, translated by Ottavio Fatica. Subsequently, they will also be published The two Towers e The return of the king, always with the translation of Fatigue.

A brief summary of the previous controversies

That after over sixty years it is lawful, right and absolutely normal that a work of cultural relevance de The Lord of the Rings not be re-translated not liked by many people. First, he didn't like it Alliata victory, the previous translator of the work. Alliata even has lawsuit Fatigue after he had pointed out, perhaps in a somewhat hyperbolic way, many mistakes made by the previous translator. Errors or, in any case, choices that today would no longer be acceptable by translation standards.

Bad controversy about Tolkien and how people read it, interpret it or transport it to other media are a constant in the history of The Lord of the Rings. We have seen people slaughter each other criticisms made by Tolkien to the Nazis, fake news rain on two words said by George RR Martin. Similarly, we have seen the vicissitudes of the animated film de The Lord of the Rings and many controversies also on biopic Tolkien . Fortunately, the newly released RPGs on the legendarium Tolkienian, like Bosco Atro, I'm relatively safe!

An appeal to readers and readers

In short, the Professor and his works are the perfect battlefield for making flames. Today, however, we hope that our readers and our readers take a deep breath and approach the news of the new translation with an open mind. Unfortunately, in fact, many of those who love Tolkien struggle with detach the merits of his works from the nostalgia effect of the Italian edition that they read when they were young. And I say it also including myself!

However, books deserve new editions and new translations, because a work, to remain alive and well, must be placed in a context of continuous dialogue with readers. The new translation of The Fellowship of the Ring by Ottavio Fatica, hopefully, will do exactly that. Let's see what is known and what they write from the editorial staff ofItalian Association of Tolkienian Studies (AIST). In fact, the new translation was able to benefit from the advice of the Tolkien experts of AIST.

In fact, the new translation of The Fellowship of the Ring would have deserved a better cover.
Indeed the new translation of The Fellowship of the Ring she would have deserved a better cover.

Release date and cover of the second translation of The Fellowship of the Ring

It is now official: The Fellowship of the Ring, in its new translation, will be released on October 30th. The two towers and Il tornno of the kinginstead, they are scheduled for spring and autumn 2020 respectively.

There was no shortage of criticisms of the new one cover, consisting of a satellite photo of Mars. More than legitimate criticisms, given that the cover image is thus extremely anonymous, especially in comparison to other historical editions of The Lord of the Rings, among which the one illustrated by Alan Lee stands out.

In an age in which many fantasy books do not go cheap and rather aim for a high quality aesthetic result, such a cover is not a great choice. Especially if it will be in the library next to, for example, Oath di Brandon Sanderson, published in Italy by Mondadori in a very rich volume.

AIST's opinion on the cover of de The Fellowship of the Ring

Regarding the cover, AIST writes:

Bizarre choice. Perhaps we wanted to suggest a reference to the landscape of Mordor ... who knows. In fact, Tolkien's descriptions and especially Jackson's cinematic rendering recall a rocky desert. Or is it because that surface could vaguely look like bark or rusty iron… In fact, at school someone always told us that you don't judge a book by its cover. [...]

Certain fiction classics are "uncoverable", that is to say that they contain too much matter, too many stories, too many meanings, to be able to summarize them in a single impact image, and perhaps the reason for Bompiani's choice could be to unhook the book from any association to a genre, thus underlining its nature as a "classic".

Honestly, I don't think a classic, to be such, should be accompanied by a bad and anonymous cover. That books with neat aesthetics are only low-quality, super-commercial ones is a stigma that will do well to die soon.

The Green Dragon Gaffer
Il Gaffiere al Green dragon

A new surrender of proper names The Fellowship of the Ring

From what the AIST editorial team writes, it is evident that a certain number of proper names (of places or people) de The Fellowship of the Ring will change compared to the edition of the Alliata.

Fatigue, in fact, will follow more closely the translation instructions given by Tolkien himself. Therefore, it will render terms like "Decumano" (Farthing) and "Gaffiere" (Blunder). Even terms like "superintendent" (steward), "werewolves" (warg) or "national assembly" (Shire-muster) will be changed to adhere more to the original meaning. Also, we will no longer have phonetic transliterations, like Tuc for Took.

Surely, for those who have been used to thinking of Hamfast Gamgee as the Gaffiere for a few decades, it will be difficult to get used to a new surrender. However, as I said before, the nostalgia effect should not be the yardstick by which we judge a new translation. Maybe, in our heads we can always say "the Gaffer", but the difference from the historical rendering does not in itself mean that the choice of Fatigue will be wrong.

Galadriel in The Fellowship of the Ring, by Enchanted
Galadriel ne The Fellowship of the Ring, of Incantata

A style closer to Tolkien's

The biggest change, however, seems to be staying in the style. In fact, for those who have read both the original version and that of the Alliata, it will already be known that the previous translator has brought Tolkien's style closer to that of certain nineteenth-century Italian literature, with long periods and a generally high style.

However, Tolkien doesn't always write with a high register, but tends to use a medium one, then moving up or down depending on the situation and who is speaking a certain dialogue. The Gaffiere, in fact, says that "Mr. Bilbo learned him [Sam] his letters“, Not“ The master also taught him to read and write ”. Already from this passage, then, we can see the typical doubling of the Alliata in rendering a single English word.

So yes, the new translation of The Fellowship of the Ring it will be more airy and smooth, as AIST wrote. Therefore, it is already said that Fatigue will translate the previous passage with "Mr. Bilbo learned to read and write".

A simpler style (because it is closer to the original) does not mean trivializing the work

When many and many say that they tried to read The Lord of the Rings, but they could not finish it due to the too heavy style, it makes me think that perhaps the translation of Fatigue could render Tolkien's work more accessible even to these casual readers. This does not mean, of course, that the text is trivialized or simplified. After all, if Tolkien's style is de facto more accessible than that of the Alliata, one cannot speak of stupidity of the work.

In fact, when you then go up to a court register, Fatigue also adapted to Tolkien's lexical choices. Therefore, certain songs are rendered with an archaic style, with Fatica very attentive to the metrics and sonority of the text. It seems, therefore, that the famous "All that is gold does not glitter ...“, Which the Alliata translated as“ Not all that is gold shines ”.

The cover of the original edition of The Fellowship of the Ring
The cover of the original edition of The Fellowship of the Ring

Final thoughts on the new translation of The Fellowship of the Ring

Serve. It's necessary. It is a remarkable food for thought on the work, what it means to translate Tolkien and our relationship with The Lord of the Rings.

If it contains errors or questionable choices, surely the translation of The Fellowship of the Ring by Ottavio Fatica will be criticized, rightly so. But the important thing is to approach this new translation without head shots, without a default hostility due to the nostalgia effect.

Surely, then, one must not approach this translation by adducing at least ridiculous arguments, such as "it is a plot of the left to insert the ggggender theory into Tolkien!". Don't you think someone said that? Go read the interview with Alliata in War and lawsuit over Tolkien's translation.

Here in the editorial office we hope to have time to read The Fellowship of the Ring of Fatigue and, if you can, to compare it with the original English and with the translation of Alliata. We will keep you posted!