After the recent controversies of Oronzo Cilli and Vittoria Alliata on the new translation of The Lord of the Rings, and the accusations of wanting to politicize Tolkien, let's retrace the story and clarify the situation.

Some additions: if you want to know more about the new translation (and the new controversies) de The Fellowship of the Ring, read on The Fellowship of the Ring: News on the new translation o The translation of Fatigue: the problem of pre-reading judgments!

These days, the Italian Tolkienian community is in turmoil, due to a article de The newspaper written by Oronzo Cilli, in which an interview with Tolkien's first translator in Italy is proposed, Alliata victory.

The article, titled Put your hands off Tolkien. Yes to poetry, not to ideology, brings to the attention of readers lto diatribe on the new translation of The Lord of the Rings, of which he is in charge Ottavio Fatica. Apparently, the first translator of the work would appreciate neither the idea of ​​a new translation, nor the criticisms that have been repeatedly made to her work over the years and, recently, by the same Italian Tolkienian Studies Association (AIST).

Let's see a little exactly what we are talking about and how true and legitimate there is in Vittoria Aliata's accusations.

Vittoria Alliata portrayed at Villa Borghese in 2010. Photo by Rino Bianchi
Vittoria Alliata portrayed at Villa Borghese in 2010. Photo by Rino Bianchi

Il Giornale article: Oronzo Cilli, 13 January 2019

As mentioned, the article by Oronzo Cilli, published by Il Giornale and dated Sunday 13 January 2019, is an interview with Vittoria Alliata, the historical translator de The Lord of the Rings, outraged by the comments received by exponents of AIST on two particular occasions.

Cilli introduces the interview by explaining the two events that caused Alliata's wrath. The first is the interview with the new translator of the Tolkien trilogy, Ottavio Fatica, in which the challenges of the Professor's translation and the problems encountered in the previous translation, motivating this new work, are presented. The second is the AIST conference at the Turin Book Fair last year, in which Fatica and the president of the association, Roberto Arduini, presented the new translation project to the general public.

At this point, the interview begins, asking Alliata, who in the meantime had filed a complaint for defamation against (presumably) Fatica, to make her opinion known about the two "bad guys".

Alliata is very clear in her sentence, especially in the case of the conference at the Turin Book Fair, on the occasion of which it is said attacked and infamous, with the aggravating circumstance of not being able to defend herself, since she was absent.

The video released by AIST shows a trio of individuals who, instead of positively illustrating their work, exhibit themselves, in an ethically and deontologically incorrect way, in shaming the work of a colleague, even in her absence. A grotesque radical chic people's court that tries an unaware and helpless defendant. And he does so with arguments that are worse than trivial, like that of my then young age at the time of the translation of the book.

Furthermore, Alliata accuses Arduini and Fatica of having overturned the history of the editorial events concerning the publication of Tolkien in Italy, thus proving that he had not read a book that deals with the story in detail and with precision. That Tolkien and Italy (Il Cerchio Editore, 2016), written by the author of the article de The newspaper, Oronzo Cilli.

Subsequently, Cilli asks if it is true that the translation of Alliata is improvised and what role the frequent doubling, in the Italian translation, of single words in English play. I report in full the translator's answer, who defends herself by claiming that she is using it a rhetorical figure of Dante's tradition and attacking Fatigue, whose humanistic education he questions.

He has mistaken Dante's expressive forms, such as hendiadys and dictology, which he evidently ignores. It is known that these stylistic features, far from curious, were used by the Poet to express and reinforce concepts thanks to pairs of synonyms or words whose meanings complement each other.

I do not know what studies Fatica followed, but it is evident that he ignores stylistics and in particular that which is learned in Italian schools, where everyone learns the rhetorical figures, first and foremost at Petrarch's late and slow steps. Those who do not know them certainly cannot be entrusted with the translation of important authors whose language is inspired by epic poems and medieval sagas

Oronzo Cilli
Oronzo Cilli

Finally, Cilli brings to the field that Wu Ming 4, founding partner of AIST, said that this new translation had been made with the approval of Tolkien Estate. Alliata firmly denies that Tolkien Estate had given the approval for this project, stating that indeed they firmly denied this statement:

They were unaware of this initiative and are very surprised and saddened that a publisher, after having sold not only millions of printed copies, but also the film rights of a work, questions what Fatica himself defines on his website as a ' epic feat.

Having said that, Alliata briefly mentions Fatigue's choice leave your names in English (not true choice, as we will see later): "Among other things, Fatica states in the interview that he does not want to respect the dictates of Tolkien himself, leaving almost everything in English."

Subsequently, the translator focuses on the fact that the new edition of The Lord of the Rings it betrayed its profound spirit, since it was due to a "Novelism at all costs", according to which the work must be updated because "its philosophy (and above all its idea of ​​freedom) is different from the current one". This would not only result in Tolkien's perversion, but would also discredit Bompiani's professional image as a publishing house. I quote:

There is nothing further from Bompiani's ideals than the disavowal of stylistics and the use of artificial make-up. With all due respect to those who prefer to trivialize the authors with digital storytelling of which Roberto Arduini defines himself, alas, specialist. Or who, like Fatica, claims the merit of having clearly expressed the homosexual dimension of the protagonists of Moby Dick. 

Finally, Alliata asks for explanations directly to Giunti, current owner of Bompiani, regarding her consent to the fact that "the work of one of her translators is publicly infamous", a work which, according to Alliata, Giunti could not even reprint because the contract with the translator was not renewed. I quote:

A work that continues to reprint although he has no right to do so, given that the contract with me, which has long since expired, has not been renewed: perhaps to take the time necessary to disguise The Lord of the Rings in LGBT style in accordance with newism " .

To conclude, Cilli asks for clarifications on Tolkien's Italian editorial difficulties, rejected by Mondadori for a too Nordic style. Alliata replies that she has used "expressive forms familiar to all young Italians" precisely to make Tolkien's "universal message addressed to all the peoples of the planet" enjoyable and comprehensible also to readers of our country. In fact, translating Tolkien for her was a real personal challenge, especially after the slaughter done by Elio Vittorini:

That categorical judgment of his was a real challenge for me. Until then I had translated the poets of the Beat Generation and acted as an interpreter (from English, French, German and Spanish) to characters like Cefis and Pitangui. A sixteen-year-old translator armed only with an old Olivetti and her literary baggage would have succeeded in what the solons of the time had considered impossible, making millions of readers fall in love ».

Ottavio Fatica
Ottavio Fatica

The interview with Ottavio Fatica, by Loredana Lipperini, April 29, 2018

In his article, Oronzo Cilli cited two infamous episodes for Alliata, one of which is the interview with Ottavio Fatica, the new translator de The Lord of the Rings, made by Loredana Lipperini, published on The Republic April 29, 2018 and freely available on AIST website.

After briefly presenting the career of Fatica, longtime and award-winning translator, a brief mention of the editorial history of The Lord of the Rings in Italy and the fact that Fatica is a fan of Tolkien, Lipperini asks whether Alliata's translation was rightly criticized.

Fatigue responds by putting your hands forward, emphasizing the young age of the translator and praising her good literary Italian:

To begin with, a hat to a very young girl who accepted such an undertaking: I would not have been able to do it, at her age. And its translation has a virtue: it is written in good Italian, while today, in most cases, it is written in Translatese, on the cast of the English language. That said, it has all the flaws of an improvised adventure.

However, according to Fatica, this does not mean that this translation should not have been taken as the basis for subsequent editions, since even after the corrections by Quirino Principe the critical issues remained significant.

Here, it was necessary to realize that it was not possible to correct five hundred errors per page for one thousand five hundred pages. There is no paragraph world from gaps and mistakes. Verbs, adverbs, entire sentences are missing, sometimes translating by ear.

Alliata often removes the wording, which also means something, gives nuance to the character. Instead, it adds explanations on explanations. It becomes a paraphrase, decidedly ugly.

It also has its own curious style: it doubles the adjectives. Placid and calm, quick and fast, miserable and thin, cruel and evil where the original was fierce. It looks like Tolkien's style, but it's his.

After a brief touch on the differences in register between elves, orcs and hobbits, Lipperini asks for more information on translation of proper names. Fatigue says that much is still to be decided, but that the work is certainly complex, also due to the obscure etymology of many of these names, which also gave problems to Alliata.

You have to understand whether to leave almost everything in English or try to recreate the name of a place or a character in Italian with an evocative term, such as when you indicate a deep valley or a large and large warrior. 

Then, the traps are endless. For example. There is a place, Stock, which is translated as Escort […] because that means in English. But Stock actually comes from an old Scottish word that indicates a mansion scattered in the open countryside. […] Of course, Alliata didn't have much material available, and we Italians have more problems than the Nordics who draw on the same etymons as Tolkien, our roots are Romance.

Flying over the complex rendering of Tolkien's poems, Lipperini asks if therefore the new The Lord of the Rings Sara a leaner and more faithful book, or more modern. Fatigue answers as follows:

The Lord of the Rings lives in literary pseudo-eternity. It is affected, of course, by the world contemporary to the author, and if it is true, as Tolkien wrote, that no direct allusions are made to war, something of the two world conflicts exudes. After all, Chesterton once said that the most fantasy book he knew was Robinson Crusoe. And it is true.

Each story is fantasy, whether you build a hut on an island or challenge a dragon. Ivan Il'ič's death is fantasy. Literature is. This is a great book, not a fantasy

Alessandro Mari, Ottavio Fatica and Roberto Arduini at the 2018 Book Fair - Photo by Andrea Tramontana
Alessandro Mari, Ottavio Fatica and Roberto Arduini at the 2018 Book Fair - Photo by Andrea Tramontana

The Turin Book Fair 2018

La direct Facebook the intervention of Arduini and Fatica can be found here and, in particular, the beginning of the comparison between the translation of Fatica and that of Alliata begins from minute 5.

Fatigue reads Alliata's translation, signaling step by step the additions and freedoms that the original translator has taken and commenting on them.

First of all, Fatica talks about the "Stylistic" of Alliata, that is, of his habit of often translating single English adjectives / nouns / verbs with a pair of Italian adjectives / nouns / verbs, sometimes substituting three Italian correspondents for an English term, with the result that the only one Fellowship of the Ring Italian is significantly longer than its English counterpart, gaining 30 or 40 pages more.

This wouldn't even be such a huge problem if it weren't that way Alliata erroneously leads the Italian reader to think that the coupling of synonymous words is Tolkien's style.

Subsequently, Fatica speaks of the note of the original editor de The Lord of the Rings, Quirino Principe, who claims to have found the translation of the proper names of people and places the main difficulty in revising the book, thus ignoring the problematic nature of Alliata's work. According to Fatica, in this sense, the translation of proper names is of great importance, but it must be considered a problem to be tackled only later, after a correct translation has been made in the contents. I quote Fatigue:

I could translate the book without translating anything, leaving all the names of the places and characters in English and thinking about it at the end. [...] There must be a solution, and it is not easy. And it's un problem, but not il main problem.

At this point, Arduini gives the floor, which traces Tolkien's difficult editorial history and his constant problems with translators, such that the Professor ended up writing a guide for translators de The Lord of the Rings. We are obviously talking about the Nomenclature of the Lord of the Rings, which you can find here .

Arduini underlines how translation problems have occurred in the editions of various states, including the Italian ones, underlining how Alliata at the time of the translation of The Lord of the Rings he was just 17 years old.

The right reaction to the matter
The right reaction to the matter

Let's pull the strings: what's effective in the interview with Vittoria Alliata?

If you have read the three previous paragraphs, perhaps going to check Cilli's article, the interview with Fatica and the live of the Book Fair, you will already have your answer, but take advantage of it anyway to pull the strings of the speech, following step by step the Alliata interview.

1. Three individuals who attack the old translator instead of positively illustrating their work?

Let's start by breaking a spear against Alliata: in a promotional work like the one done at the Book Fair, it would have been even more interesting know the translation found by Fatigue, and not only observe the problems of the old translation. But you know, the pars destruens it is always the easiest to do, as well as the one that has the most grip on the public.

However, it must also be said that the new translation becomes necessary precisely because of the problems of the old translation, and listing these flaws helps to convince the public that a new translation, which will inevitably bring about changes in the passages and names with which we grew up, is necessary and does even more justice to the book. We also think only of the controversies that arose with the new translation of Harry Potter, In which Plane Beater has been changed to Slapping Willow, closer to the original Whomping Willow, but that made readers of the original version bleach.

2. Incorrectly defaming the work of a colleague not present?

Here, here we are already faced with an interpretation that is at least personal, and certainly not very close to reality. Indeed, in the video of the conference nobody infames Alliata, but their choices as a translator are simply criticized, in a timely and accurate manner.

There is a substantial difference between professionally criticizing others' work and defaming it: if it is said that Alliata's doubling does not do justice to the Tolkienian style, a professional criticism is made; if it is said that Alliata translates shit because she is a jerk, she becomes infamous. And, of course, here no one would ever allow themselves to defame the translator, who as a person has always received respect and understanding from everyone. But from an exit like the one Alliata does on The newspaper I spontaneously ask myself how the lady would react to a trial peer review academic, in which colleagues are called to correct the problems of others' work: would you sue them because they have defamed her in her absence?

Regarding the question of Alliata's non-presence at the conference, I do not see how this could be considered infamous: in the professional world, conferences and writings are made for completely public use, which may very well be read or viewed even from a distance. If the lady had wanted to retort and defend her choices, she could easily have done so by publishing an article in which she illustrated her translation process, as any established professional would have done, without triggering unnecessary Greek tragedies.

Furthermore, given that here we are syndicating on organizing events without inviting "the opposition", we remember that Vittoria Alliata and Oronzo Cilli will both be speakers of the conference Tolkien's war. What happened to the hobbit creator in Italy?, which will be held in Rome on Thursday 17 January 2019, complete with an introduction by Senator Maurizio Gasparri. Conference to which their bitter opponents do not seem invited, and in which this "progressive attack" on Tolkien will hardly be discussed. However, remember that AIST still has advertised the event, in the spirit of solidarity with Tolkienian events that has always distinguished the association.

Conference mentioned in the article by Cilli ("Let's hear the person directly concerned, Vicky Alliata, also in view of what she will say in the meeting in the Senate on January 17"), who perhaps also took advantage of the interview to YouTube's ADS, but click on them, at your event.

"They gossip behind me"
"They talk about me"

3. Use of Alliata's young age as an incorrect argument?

In this case there is little to say: Fatigue used the young age of the translator as a motivation, and a justification, for her unhappy translation choices. Honestly, any professional writer or translator would hardly consider their job done at 17 years untouchable, because at that age we would hardly have had the maturity and experience that we developed later.

It's normal: my three-year thesis sucks, even if I'm still proud of it. Terry Pratchett, having reached fame and a certain age, no longer considered the book he wrote at 17, Night Dweller, a reading that represented it.

However, it is interesting to note that then, at the end of the interview, Alliata brought back her young age at the time of the translation de The Lord of the Rings, to underline how she would have been able to do what the intellectuals of the time considered impossible, despite she was only 16 and armed only with an old typewriter.

4. Disruption of the history of translation, proving that you have not read Cilli's book?

Now, taking into account the fact that I have not read Cilli's book, Tolkien and Italy, what I will write should be taken with pliers, pending further study.

From what appears with regard to the Italian editorial events of The Lord of the Rings, the quick reconstruction made by Arduini at the conference seems actually quite truthful, and at the most suffers from the impossibility of rattling off all the meticulous passages and documents found by Cilli on the subject. Impossibility even quite normal: at a conference where you have the counted minutes you cannot say everything and it is more useful to give a general idea of ​​the story.

However, I repeat, I do not know actual errors and indeed, we know well that at least someone on the AIST board has carefully read Cilli's book: we are talking about Wu Ming 4 (whose laboratory in Trento on The Hobbit we have talked here ), that has reviewed Tolkien and Italy critically, often disagreeing with the author, but following the book step by step, often citing extracts of it with great punctuality and precision. From this review some doubts on Alliata's subsequent statements emerge.

Erratum: as a commentator points out, Arduini actually makes a gaffe, because he confuses Alliata with another translator who at that time had gone to England to deal with the translation of Tolkien's works, Jeronimidis. However, as the commentator also points out, Jeronimidis was also a translator at the first experience, who was venturing into the translation of The Hobbit just to improve their skills.

5. Tolkien's collaboration and approval for Alliata's translation?

Here, here we are faced with a dark passage: honestly, I can't find sources that exactly attest how well Tolkien knew Italian. That as a philologist and linguist he had at least basic confidence in our language is quite probable, also taking into account the fact that Tolkien certainly knew Latin (and regretted a lot when mass in Latin was abolished). From Latin and French (of which he had certainly had experience in the trenches), the step towards Italian is short, and we also know that Tolkien probably liked the Italian sound harmonious.

However, where Cilli in his book writes that Tolkien knew Italian, Wu Ming 4 in his review states instead that the Professor not only did not know Italian, But that he had not even approved Alliata's work with flying colors:

Tolkien's most important work (but a The Hobbit it didn't get much better) it underwent a stratification of interventions in Italy from the start. Starting from a translation made by a girl at the first experience, Vittoria Alliata di Villafranca, passing through the revision of Quirino Principe, as well as for an exchange of letters with Tolkien - who besides not knowing Italian, had ambiguous positions regarding the translation of his books - up to the particular packaging reserved for the novel by the group of intellectuals who took charge of it, what happened was a nice hodgepodge.

This makes us understand why the Italian edition of the Lord of the Rings it is what it is, both in terms of translation and in terms of paratexts, and because over the years it has had to be patched on several occasions.

Approval which, on the other hand, is claimed by both Alliata and Cilli. It is difficult to judge the matter without knowing more and without having Cilli's book at hand, which will surely report the sources of his statements. We will let you know what we will find out in the future.

"figures of speech"
"figures of speech"

6. Not errors, but Dante's expressive forms, which Fatigue should know?

This is Alliata's answer to Fatica's criticisms of her nouns / adjectives / verbs pairs.

Now, I am not a translator and, respecting this job, I will not tell two translators how they should do their job, however a reflection spontaneously arises. Taking into account the fact that the translation process, taught in specific universities, has changed a lot over time and has several different approaches and schools of thought, such as to make speech much more complex than it seems.

Alliata justifies his choice with rhetorical and literary arguments, a very valid thing: he wanted propose a new literary styleor, typical of Dante and Petrarca, to probably give readers an idea of ​​high resonance that they could recognize, as well as a courtly style of writing closer to their imagination. On the contrary, a translation that had proposed the rhetorical formulas typical of the Anglo-Saxon epic, perhaps would not have been equally understood. Alliata herself says it:

It was precisely the stubborn Nordicity that was the reason for my stylistic choices. […] It was thanks to the use of expressive forms familiar to all young Italians that I think I made the text understandable with freshness and a teasing pace, […]

Legitimate justification, I'm not saying no. In fact, I'm glad that now, finally, we have the motivation for these translation choices, because I think it's important to know them: we cannot judge Alliata's work thoroughly without first asking her.

Indeed, probably Fatigue would have made a better impression by contacting the old translator to ask her why she made her choices, then then making her criticisms with full knowledge of the facts, without going to the Book Fair saying "I don't know why she did it". But, if we have to syndicate on Fatica's behavior, it must also be said that not even Alliata has behaved with much maturity or a spirit of collaboration.

However, times have changed and what seemed alien then is not alien now, and Fatica's objection to the Book Fair is equally legitimateIn this way Tolkien is being attributed a rhetoric that is not his. So it makes sense to try to re-propose the Professor in a different guise, closer to the original.

Not taking into consideration the hendiadys and dictology as Alliata's strategies, however, does not make Fatigue an ignorant blue: simply, perhaps, shows how the science of translation has changed since 1967, as now we prefer a translation that more faithfully reproduces the author's writing style.

7. Did Tolkien Estate know nothing and are they angry?

Here the situation is dark. Wu Ming 4 in this article he says he had the approval of the Tolkien Estate, which Alliata instead strongly denies.

Neither brings evidence, nor can I find further information on the net, nor my knowledge of publishing and its legislative rules allow me to know if the approval of Tolkien Estate for a new translation is de facto necessary, if Giunti / Bompiani already possess the rights of publication de The Lord of the Rings.

However, we wrote to Tolkien Estate for clarification. If they answer us, we will let you know.

Bilbo mood of the day
Bilbo mood of the day

8. Does Fatigue not respect Tolkien's dictates and will it leave its proper names in English?

Here, this is it false. As can be seen from the two previous interviews, Fatigue criticizes the translation of some proper place names made by Alliata, but does not say that it will leave all the proper names in English.

He underlines the difficulty in their rendering in Italian and therefore questions whether it is worth translating these proper names, or if at this point it is preferable to leave them in English, but there is no certainty that they remain in the original language.

Furthermore, in this sense, there would also be complaints about the way in which Alliata translated the aforementioned proper place names, such as not to recall the profound meaning of their original version (and therefore not always following Tolkien's dictates in Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings). An example of this is the translation of the four areas of the county into Decumani, which recalls the Roman structure of the territory and ignores the current meaning of the original Farthing. We talk about it in more detail here .

9. Newness at all costs that betrays the sentiment of the author?

In fact, from what Fatica, Arduini and Wu Ming 4 say about the new translation, it seems that new or any disguise of "The Lord of the Rings in LGBT style in deference to newism ”there is absolutely nothing.

The new translation is due to linguistic needs of greater adherence to the original text.

In the new edition with the translated text only the introduction of Elemire Zolla would be missing, however, not approved by Tolkien, since it interprets The Lord of the Rings in a heavily allegorical key, doing exactly what the Professor had recommended not to do: his books are not allegories. Consequently, the introduction made by Tolkien himself in 1966 would remain, already added to the most recent editions.

In doing so, in essence, no "newist" vision is added, progressivist, feel-good or leftist in general, but it would simply take away from the work an improper interpretation from a methodological and literary point of view, which ... ops, is also particularly close to the spirit of the Catholic, nationalist and reactionary right.

However, removing the introduction of Zolla would do what many Tolkien fans have always hoped for: freeing Tolkien from political manipulations, right or left. In this way, we would only have the book we all love, in its version more faithful to the original, with the introduction of our beloved Professor.

Less political than that, it would only be achieved by canceling in its entirety The Lord of the Rings.

A long awaited diatribe

Before even getting to grips with this controversy, which broke out in recent days, I wrote an article on Tolkien and his answer to a German publisher, who asked him for a possible translation into Germany of The Hobbit, if the Professor was Aryan.

Now, it is difficult not to notice how even on that occasion, a controversy had arisen between Oronzo Cilli, also the author of the interview with Alliata, e Wu Ming 4. Controversy that even, as you will read in my little article scheduled for January 27, did not make sense to exist, since Cilli (in this his article) had accused Wu Ming 4 of having given the Nazi to the German publisher who had requested the certificate of "arianity", without bringing to the surface that up to two years before the aforementioned publishing house was in the hands of a Jewish publisher. Interesting curiosity, but that de facto it would have made no sense to include in the speech that Wu Ming 4 was making in those pages, who then absolutely did not define anyone as "Nazi".

In addition to this precedent we see another one, with substantially the same protagonists: Wu Ming 4 asking for cancel a Tolkienian presentation made by Gianluca Comastri and most importantly from Giovanni Carmine Costabile, with introduction of (hear hear) Oronzo Cilli, for reasons of political incompatibility between the speakers and the headquarters of the ARCI club that hosted them. You can get an idea of ​​the story in this article.

Gabriele Marconi, who dealt with the story, briefly retraces a 3 page the history of Tolkienian associations, showing how there is a dualism between the oldest Italian Tolkienian Society (STI), born in 1992, of which Gianfranco de Turris is a historical member and strongly linked to the Italian Social Movement of the eighties, and theItalian Association of Tolkienian Studies, created by leavers from the STI and which currently sees Roberto Arduini and Wu Ming 4 as his prominent personalities, among others.

A duality due to ideological distances between the greatest exponents of the two realities, who of these times are told of all colors and mischievous and blast each other, one leaning on their platforms, the other writing on the more than politically deployed The newspaper.

Next note: that is, the protagonists of both sides write on platforms where they have the freedom to attack others in a way that is also quite explicit. If they wrote in an academic journal, their blasts would take the form of "I beg to differ" or "opinion to which I would like to present and make some objections." Notice the difference between this and Alliata's “radical chic”.


A call for freedom of expression

Personally, I would be delighted to see Tolkien emerge from the shadow of a political / allegorical debate to land inserious university environment, where at least if people do it, they do it with serious essays, not with articles on newspapers of dubious taste or on their personal sites, without sources, without bibliography and without precision.

But if Wu Ming 4 has the easy controversy, the same can be said for his right-wing counterparts: Cilli in his articles criticizes, as you will soon see, a little for the sake of criticizing, by sticking to pretext pretexts without observing the context, while Alliata has no problem misrepresenting others' claims and declaring war on legitimate and well-documented criticisms.

Rather, Alliata takes censorship to a whole other level: where Wu Ming 4 had canceled a Tolkienian event by appealing, supposedly, to the ARCI regulation, here Tolkien's original translator has directly sued for defamation Fatigue on the latter's interview with Lipparelli and his words during the Book Fair. And this is very serious.

Fatigue was also going to be tough and he could even have contacted Alliata before exposing her criticisms, so as to hear the translator's explanations about her stylistic choices, but the criticisms of the new translator are absolutely legitimate and polite, without ever attacking Alliata in her person, but only in her work.

And criticism of others' work is legitimate.

As I said, I don't know what kind of academic environment Alliata is used to, but I can assure you that in these parts the criticisms of Fatigue are absolutely normal and nobody would dream of suing the other professionals in the sector, if he was criticized for the flaws in his own work. Nor would one dream of complaining that someone made criticisms of his work at a conference that was not attended to. The correct process in these cases is read the criticisms, take an examination of conscience and then respond to them by exposing their justifications to another conference (which Alliata will definitely do on January 17th).

The fact that, instead, we resorted to lawyers, complaining of having been defamed, is not only incorrect behavior, but also denotes a certain anti-democratic feeling, such that it can almost be defined an intimidating complaint against Fatigue. As a PhD student who bases her research thesis on offering a broader perspective than that given by previous scholars, I am horrified at such behavior and the damage it could cause in the academic field: no one would dare to criticize the work of others or pose their own alternatives, because it would risk being sued for defamation.

Andrea Binelli - Photo by Tangram Edizioni Scientifiche
Andrea Binelli - Picture of Tangram Scientific Editions

At this point, however, Alliata could be coherent, also taking it out on other academics who have put forward criticisms and doubts about her work. For example, I think it is useful to remember how right in III Tolkienian Conference, held at the University of Trento (where I work) on 14 and 15 December 2017, Andrea Binelli, associate professor in English language - English language and translation, had spoken of the problems in the Italian translation of The Lord of the Rings made by Alliata, in an intervention entitled Notes on some thematic profiles in Tolkien's Italian translations.

In short: we are not talking about personal judgments given at random by Fatica, but about critical issues found by others: Binelli, on this occasion, focused on the “stylistic feature”Of Alliata to double into translation originally single nouns. In addition, the linguist added that Alliata had not noticed the semantic difference between some types of terms used by Tolkien, as folly (hubris) is madness (madness), which the translator had always made like madness without understanding its different meaning.

Now, both Fatigue and Alliata should have remembered this intervention, one to give more credibility to their statements, the other to understand that criticisms are on the agenda in the academic world, and that they are answered with articles scientific and wise, not with complaints. So at this point I wonder if Alliata doesn't want to sue Binelli too, also guilty of having spoken behind him, making criticisms and legitimate comments in a lecture hall, during a public conference.

But at this point, any writer who receives a negative criticism should have the right to sue the bad reviewer. What Peter Jackson should do if he reads some of the comments dedicated to him on the Facebook page Tolkien Italy, in the days of this diatribe? Should he send the killers directly? And at this point even Fatigue should not sue Alliata, guilty of giving him ignorant in your interview, accusing him of pursuing an LGBT conspiracy?

It is to this, in short, that we have reduced ourselves to Tolkien's Italian fandom: to sue each other and make us mischievous.

But when it is the "Maoist" Wu Ming 4 who makes the scorn, everyone shouts at censorship and invokes political respect, while when Princess Alliata sued legitimate criticisms very few of the same moderate and respectful Tolkienians tear their clothes and shout at censorship.

We will have to wait for the next developments of the debate, but at this moment I seem to see a certain double standard in the community, in which we want to make believe that Tolkien's political appropriation is done only on one side of the deployment, and in which the censorship intimidating is passed as the right reply of an offended person.

At this point, the other philologists could easily have sued Tolkien when he criticized their approach to the matter. But, you know, I don't think they did. The professionals know how to do better, fortunately.

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