National allegories born(e) in translation: The Catalan case

Stewart King, Alice Whitmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This article examines the ways in which Catalan crime fiction is entwined with the concepts of world literature, national allegory and translation. Crime novels have been singled out for two reasons: first, because the genre’s origins are steeped in translation; second, because crime novels are often beholden to a particularly strong sense of place. Crime fiction in translation serves as national allegory insofar as it represents and re-presents a nation. The article explores what happens when such novels move beyond their culture of origin, in particular which national allegory is played out, and how it is read in the foreign context Through an analysis of novels by Maria Aurèlia Capmany and Teresa Solana, this article maps the transformations that national allegories undergo when they are translated from one linguistic context to another: in the case of Capmany’s Traduït de l’americà, from the US to Catalonia; in the case of Solana’s Un crim imperfecte, from Catalonia to the rest of the world. As novels both born and borne in translation, these works point to a truly worldly understanding of literature and the nation’s place within it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-156
Number of pages13
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • crime fiction
  • translation
  • national allegory
  • Catalan
  • Rebecca Walkowitz
  • world literature
  • Maria Aurèlia Capmany
  • Teresa Solana

Cite this