Bringing light back to German culture in Italy: an interview with L’orma Editore

Such as German culture Does it fit with Italian literature? Berlin (and not only) has always been a bridge to international culture, German for example in the 1930s represented modernity compared to the Italian scene. However, censorship has always tightened the cultural barriers that would have brought together different customs and cultures. The role of literature, especially today, from a more free and interconnected perspective, is instrumental in breaking the boundaries that characterized different cultures in the past. The German culture of those years is currently being narrated, not only represented but finally highlighted in Italy by publishing houses such as L’orma Editore in Rome. In particular, publishers Lorenzo Flapi and Marco Federici Solari chose to include German author Irmgard Keon in the publishing house’s “Kreuzville Aleph” series, starting with the uncensored publication of the work Gilji is one of us For the first time in Italy. It is an affirmation that demonstrates L’orma’s will to underscore how far there are no cultural barriers today.

Understanding and carrying Irmgard Keon into a different cultural order helped restore the value not only of his work and German culture but also the dignity of his person. In a recent key, the relationship between Keun and the Romanian publishing house is marked by a unique imprint of rediscovery, with a broader perspective claiming freedom from historical censorship but also freedom from cultural boundaries today. Through this interview with the editors, the investigation of the relationship with Irmgard Keun overcame literary conditions and took a broader direction, between considerations of German culture in relation to historical contexts up to current notions of cultural censorship. In this conversation aspects of German culture are analyzed for some reason, the cultural coherence of this project in its most tangential aspect.

Interview with the editor of L’orma

L’orma’s publisher deals primarily with publishing French and German translations, but why did you choose to give voice to Irmgard Keun?

Marco Federici Solari:

Irmgard Keun is part of a more general research on women’s voices in German fiction and fiction in the twentieth century and beyond. The imprint became an editorial fact when Irmgard Keun was rediscovered; It was also recently published in English, and was a huge hit in the Anglo-Saxon world. It was at the center of the rediscovery of critics and audiences. Among the first figures we looked at in our search for a female canon from the twentieth century in Germany, Irmgard Keon beat them all. Reading it I immediately discovered a voice that is not only interesting, but also very lively, recognizable as a literary voice that is still able to speak to us. Her life, censorship, and the historical experiences to which she relates were elements that also made her significant as an institution. It is important; She recalls that Keon’s first two books were a resounding success, but with the book burnings, the German writer suffered from d’Amanatio memorabilia that lasted almost until the end of her years. To success even in English, she entered the field of German literature.

German culture, modernity and originality

From the romantic to the avant-garde, the intent was to make an audience and be yourself: a community that offers someone a cultural proposition that has its power, and that slowly succeeds in establishing itself. I think this is an element of modernity.

Marco Federici Solari:

As far as German culture is concerned, it is sure to undergo a major change. Since the 1960s, German culture has expressed its desire for complexity, from the culture of great thinkers to the political culture of socialism and division. Even all the literature of the East also meant that utopia. With the long wave of the Berlin Wall, a great social and cultural revolution took place. No country has such a powerful, modern story to tell. It was the will to tell the historical truth: for literature, this was an interesting fact. German literature today has a very broad culture, and it seems that our cultural task is to give a perception of this breadth in relation to the idea of ​​German literature more rigorous and filtered by prejudices. It is a multifaceted and diverse humorous literature. There are different sides, we want to share this breadth. The need to offer diversity to such an outsider is one of the publishing house’s cultural missions.

International culture and translation

Your catalog consists mostly of translated works; In the 1930s, the publication of translation in Italy faced many difficulties but was of great importance. What is the relationship of publishing today between Italian culture and world German culture?

Lorenzo Flappy:

The first observation that comes to mind is that the sensitivity of translation has changed from the 1930s to now, and I would say that there has been a more subtle sensitivity in recent decades in Italy with regard to issues of translation. This does not mean that there has been progress in translation or that there is always a tendency towards greater sensitivity. The translation discourse has gone through different historical periods in a sinusoidal way. During the Renaissance in Italy translation was a deep topic, and was certainly less important in the first half of the twentieth century, and may not have been translated in those years in a very philosophical and meticulous way. The 1930s is the decade of translations, as Bavies called it. There was then a new wave of translations in Italy, but the idea that they all get so much attention is a misconception. For very high operations, such as the Bourges translations, there were other options that were choices of only economic interest; In those years there was a very aggressive economy from an economic point of view.

Another is the extensive discussion about the relationship between Italian and international culture. When determining the answer to French and German culture, Joseph Alexandrovich Brodskij’s phrase that there is a geographical necessity between Italy and France often comes to mind, as if looking at the map there was so perpendicular that what happens in France at some point must inevitably fall into the Italy as well. On a broadly general level, I think Italy was in some ways xenophobic for much of the twentieth century, perhaps also as a reaction to the twenty years of fascism that made National Socialism valuable in the face of the disasters of racist laws. Italy did not come from the beginning of the century to be proud of it. From the perception that the world was changing to the short American century that was progressing, Italy became very xenophobic especially looking at the English-speaking countries and the United States, but always with great respect and sometimes a feeling of inadequacy compared to other countries.

One often had the feeling that Italy was colliding with Germany or France to hurt itself, and one was facing each other blushing. In a way, something has changed in recent years. With a twisted mixture now in Italy, xenophobia on the defensive coexists with the power of xenophobia. Thus cultural work in all its forms becomes precious, from music to cinema, literature and all forms of art, including the Internet. Culture becomes a balm against sovereign barbarism. The interest found in these other nations is of particular interest to us, because it is often an interest in high cultures rather than in forms of entertainment or even in everyday culture.

I think that even today in Italy a lot translates to this xenophobic drive, to be curious but also to deny a tiny part of one’s past, sometimes because of an inferiority complex or a lack of character, it even translates a lot. Today there are publications that are produced little by default, a series that has achieved success abroad, and therefore translates even if it does not have a decisive cultural value – more so than in France. Although the translations are always from English. The impression is that there was and remains, for historical reasons also, a great pro-American and that a strong European spirit made and translated much.


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Maggie Benson

"Bacon trailblazer. Certified coffee maven. Zombie lover. Tv specialist. Freelance communicator."

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