In 1937, two years following the American original, Pylon became the first novel by William Faulkner to be translated into Italian. The choice, however, is unexpected, given the critique of technology in Faulkner’s cautionary tale, which would seem to oppose the fascist ideology of Mussolini’s regime, then at its height. Like the futurists, whose ideas they appropriated, the fascists idealized technological progress, committing themselves to what Faulkner’s novel calls into question. The translation of foreign literature under fascism was a complex and dynamic field, as theorized by Cesare Pavese, who argued that American novels in Italian translation played a role in the domestic intellectual resistance. Against this background, the Italian translation of Faulkner’s novel may thus appear as an antifascist act. Indeed, the translator’s introduction to the work foregrounds the theme of technological critique and implicitly asserts its relevance for contemporary Italy. A closer examination of publisher and translator complicates the picture, revealing contradictory intentions and casting subversive aims into doubt. Nevertheless, an ambitious publishing project in the immediate postwar period, which sought to mobilize the novel for the purposes of national reconstruction, confirms the inherent antifascist potential of the translation.

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