Stockholm university

Cecilia Schwartz

About me

I am  full professor of Italian and I have taught Italian at all levels. I have supervised student projects for Bachelor's , Master's and PhD's degrees.

My research is  focused on transnational and translational aspects of Italian literature: I study how Italian literature circulates and reaches Swedish readers through different mediators: translators, publishers, libraries and universities. In a transnational perspective, I am interested in the dynamics between (semi-)peripheral cultures - such as Sweden and Italy - especially from a gender perspective. During the years 2016-2021, I participated in the RJ-funded national research program Cosmopolitan and vernacular dynamics in world literatures ( I currently participate in several international research networks and research groups focused on translation, circulation and reception, such as Progetto Passaggi, History and Translation Network and Italian Literature International Observatory. In year 2021 I started the partially RJ-funded project "A Rome of one's own" which takes into consideration the mediation, translation and translingualism of women writers in the interculture between Sweden and Italy.


I teach Italian at all levels, mainly courses in literature.


Research areas: comparative literature, sociology of translation, transculturality, translingualism, reception, literary mediation, world literature, fantastic literature, children's literature.


Ongoing research projects

A Rome of one's own: translation, mediation and translingualism in 20th-century women writers in the interculture between Sweden and Italy

The project started in 2021 thanks to a research grant from RJ. Drawing on three women authors' writing and literary mediatorship, I investigate the conditions of intercultural processes during the first half of the 20th century. The project also aims to draw attention to their images of Italy, since previous research prioritised male writers' representations of the country.


"Circulation, Translation and Reception Across Borders: Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities Around the World"

The project aims to publish a research anthology on the translation, circulation and reception of Italo Calvino's Le città invisibili (Invisible Cities) in different countries, language areas and cultural contexts. In collaboration with Elio Baldi (Amsterdam University).


Concluded research projects:

“Made in Italy. A diachronic study of literary circulation and translation in the semi-periphery”

The project was part of the research program “Cosmopolitan and Vernacular Dynamics in World Literature” (RJ) and has a translation sociological profile aimed at highlighting different parts of the inflow and circulation of Italian literature to Sweden from the late 19th century to today. The project resulted in a large number of publications, including the monograph La letteratura italiana in Svezia. Autori, editori, lettori (1870-2020) (Carocci 2021, see review: as well as the co-authored volume Northern Crossings. Translation, Circulation and the Literary Semi-periphery (Bloomsbury 2022).

“Literary mediation of Romance languages ​​in the Nordic countries”

The project aimed to highlight how literary texts from the Romance languages circulate in the Nordic region by focusing on intermediary individuals and institutions. The project was a collaboration with Mickaëlle Cedergren (SU) and foundend a research network from all over the Nordic countries. The network organized conferences, workshops and courses and published a special issue of Moderna språk (2016, n.2) on literary mediators.

“The narrated North: nordicity as form, function and fiction in Italian contemporary literature”

Based on theories of geocriticism, imagology and literary discourse analysis, the project investigated the construction of the North in contemporary Italian literature and travel literature.


A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • Northern Crossings: Translation, Circulation and the Literary Semi-periphery

    2022. Chatarina Edfeldt (et al.).


    This open access book uses Swedish literature and the Swedish publishing field as recurring examples to describe and analyse the role of the literary semi-peripheral position in world literature from various perspectives and on meso, micro and macro levels, using both quantitative and qualitative methods. This includes the role of translation in the semi-periphery and the conditions under which literature travels to and from that position. The focus is not on Sweden, as such, but rather on the semi-peripheral transitional space as exemplified by the Swedish case.

    Consisting of three co-written chapters, this study sheds light on what might be called the semi-peripheral condition or the semi-periphery as an area of transition. As part of the Cosmopolitan and Vernacular Dynamics in World Literatures series, it makes continuous use of the concepts of 'cosmopolitan' and 'vernacular' – or rather, the processual terms, cosmopolitanization and vernacularization – which provide an overall structure to the analysis of literature and literary phenomena. In this way, the authors show that the semi-periphery is an ideal point of departure to further the understanding of world literature, because it is a place where the cosmopolitan (the literary universal) and the vernacular (the rootedness in a particular culture or place) interact in ways that have not yet been thoroughly explored.

    Read more about Northern Crossings
  • La letteratura italiana in Svezia: Autori, editori, lettori (1870-2020)

    2021. Cecilia Schwartz.


    Lo studio della letteratura italiana oltrefrontiera è oggi in via di espansione. Partendo dal caso svedese, il libro propone un quadro complessivo della fortuna internazionale delle opere italofone in traduzione. L’analisi degli svolgimenti della letteratura italiana in Svezia dal 1870 al 2020 mostra un ampio panorama di autori, generi, correnti e tendenze che, nonostante gli ostacoli riscontrati, hanno raggiunto i lettori svedesi. Gli agenti coinvolti in questa migrazione di libri – editori, traduttori, critici e istituzioni – sono esaminati da una prospettiva che mira a congiungere le più recenti idee emerse negli ambiti della traduttologia, della world literature e della sociologia della letteratura, offrendo un percorso metodologico utile a chiunque sia interessato ai rapporti transnazionali della letteratura. Un’attenzione particolare è rivolta alle scrittrici e alle traduttrici che hanno contribuito notevolmente a consolidare la fama della letteratura italiana contemporanea in Svezia. Gli atteggiamenti della critica vengono osservati da lontano e da vicino, proponendo un catalogo della ricezione svedese di autori come Grazia Deledda, Elsa Morante, Italo Calvino, Natalia Ginzburg, Pier Paolo Pasolini ed Elena Ferrante. Il volume è corredato di una bibliografia online delle opere italiane tradotte in svedese.

    Read more about La letteratura italiana in Svezia
  • Supporting inter-peripheral literary circulation the impact of institutional funders of Italian and Portuguese language literatures in Sweden

    2021. Cecilia Schwartz, Chatarina Edfeldt. Perspectives


    The aim of this essay is to explore the hypothesis that interperipheral literary circulation is achieved through support from institutional funders who are situated outside the target culture and mainly in the source culture – so called ‘supply-driven translation’. By focusing on Swedish translations of Italian and Portuguese (Angola, Cabo Verde, East Timor, Mozambique, and Portugal) language literatures this study investigates whether support from the source culture provides an alternative pathway for this literature to make its way into the hands of Swedish readers, including scholars. First, this study reviews the available funding for this literature and maps out which publishing houses, authors, and titles received financial support between 2000 and 2018. The analysis focuses on the support from institutions that are closely related to two of the source countries (Italy and Portugal) and addresses questions regarding the prestige and gender of the supported authors, the size of the publishing houses, previous translations into English, and how this support influences visibility in the public literary sphere and in the Swedish press. Translations and publications of Portuguese language literatures depended on and received financial support, whereas translations and publications of Italian literature were largely produced without any financial support. However, in many respects, the source languages show striking similarities.

    Read more about Supporting inter-peripheral literary circulation the impact of institutional funders of Italian and Portuguese language literatures in Sweden
  • Images of Italy: Cultural Representations in the Peritext of Translational National Anthologies in Sweden

    2021. Cecilia Schwartz. Narratives Crossing Borders, 229-253


    The essay explores the peritexts of Swedish translational national anthologies of Italian literature. Translational national anthologies are collections of translated literary texts from one specific nation published in another. Usually, peritexts are understood as hybrid spaces where source and target cultures meet (Elefante 2012: 11). Is this the case for translational national anthologies as well? Or does the recontextualization in a new language and setting rather “reinforce the more or less stereotypical representations of foreign cultures” (Sapiro 2008: 163)?

    To answer these questions, the peritexts of anthologies of Italian literature published in Sweden during the years 1947–2012 are analyzed. The corpus – consisting of titles, covers, blurbs, notes and prefaces – is examined in order to reveal which cultural images of Italy and Italians the anthologies display. More specifically, the article compares the discourse in the corpus to the images of Italy and Italians that have been identified from centuries of European travel writing (Beller 2007). The second part of the essay examines whether or not the results are exclusive for anthologies of Italian literature. For this purpose, the peritexts of a sample of Swedish translational national anthologies focusing on Polish, French and Spanish texts are analyzed.

    The results show that Italian literature is presented similarly to the central language area (French) than it is to the (semi-)peripheral languages Spanish and Polish. The images of Italy and Italians are, however, the most stereotypical, and their focus on contrasting elements perpetuate a tenacious vision of Italy as an anomaly.

    Read more about Images of Italy
  • Ferrante Feud: The Italian Reception of the Neapolitan Novels before and after their International Success

    2020. Cecilia Schwartz. The Italianist 40 (1), 122-142


    This article analyses the Italian reviews of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels, published in the years 2011–2014. The focus of the study is twofold: first of all, it examines how Ferrante’s works have been assessed in the Italian press, and secondly, it investigates whether the Italian reception of the works has been influenced by their international – and especially American – success. Drawing on previous studies of the evaluation of female writing by Anna Williams, Stefania Lucamante, and Tiziana de Rogatis, the analysis emphasises how Italian critics in a selection of reviews published in newspapers, literary magazines, and collective blogs have approached Ferrante’s writing from the perspective of style, content, genre, and literary contextualisation. The analysis shows that the reception of the first two parts of Ferrante’s quartet has striking similarities to the patronising patterns uncovered by Williams, while the reviews after the international success are more appreciative. These results are also discussed with regard to literary consecration and canonisation by highlighting how Ferrante is addressed in recent books on contemporary Italian literature.

    Read more about Ferrante Feud
  • Worlding the Library: Language, Nationality and Translation in Two Multilingual Libraries

    2019. Cecilia Schwartz. Comparative Critical Studies 16 (1), 31-55


    Drawing on Venkat Mani's concept of bibliomigrancy, and his suggestion to interconnect the study of libraries with the study of world literature, this article analyses two libraries with an explicit multilingual profile: The Nobel Library of the Swedish Academy and the International Library, both located in Stockholm. The primary aim is to examine the agency of these libraries in the construction of world literature, i.e. how foreign works are amassed and arranged with respect to nationality and language. The study begins with a comparison of the two libraries in terms of accessibility, users and acquisition policies. Special attention is then given to the arrangement of their online catalogues of literature from the perspective of nationality, translation and, in particular, language. The most frequent languages of each library's holdings are compared to their linguistic capital both in the global language hierarchy and specifically in Sweden, as well as to their literary capital. These comparisons reveal substantial differences between the libraries and call into question certain assumptions about the impact of location on the construction of world literature.

    Read more about Worlding the Library
  • From Nuoro to Nobel: the impact of multiple mediatorship on Grazia Deledda's movement within the literary semi-periphery

    2018. Cecilia Schwartz. Perspectives 26 (4), 526-542


    This study aims to highlight the impact of multiple mediatorship on transnational circulation by focusing on the Italian Nobel Laureate Grazia Deledda. Drawing on two previous studies, I argue that a combination of field theory and social network analysis is a fruitful way of understanding how multiple mediatorship is performed in the semi-peripheral areas of world literature. The analysis shows that Deledda's success in Sweden depended neither on the translation of her work into central languages (English, French, German) nor on the support of single influential mediators in the target culture, but rather on the efforts of three interconnected networks of cultural mediators linking Sweden and Italy. These networks are identified, described and analyzed in order to obtain a better understanding of the features that are crucial to creating successful connections in the literary semi-periphery.

    Read more about From Nuoro to Nobel
  • Profiles of Italy: Localising practices of Swedish Publishing Houses

    2018. Cecilia Schwartz. World literatures, 310-323


    Is it possible to pinpoint the status of a foreign literature in a receiving culture? In this chapter, I will briefly suggest a methodo- logical path that can be followed in order to find out more about attitudes towards translated literature, by focusing on the selec- tion of titles and the packaging of books. Why is selection and packaging crucial to the understanding of transnational literary relations?

    Read more about Profiles of Italy
  • Semi-Peripheral Dynamics: Inclusion Modalities of Italian Literature in Sweden

    2017. Cecilia Schwartz. Journal of World Literature 2 (4), 488-511


    This article aims to contribute to the understanding of the transnational dimension of Italian literature and overlooked dynamics in the literary semi-periphery. Focusing on Italian fiction in Sweden, a panoramic view of this specific semi-peripheral relation is outlined and compared to Danish and English experiences. I will then test the hypothesis that the centrality-peripherality dichotomy remains relevant to the relations of semi-peripheral literatures, but that it depends on “the modality of a specific inclusion within a system” (WReC 123). The main concern is to determine whether semi-peripheral literatures include each other as central or peripheral. More specifically, the study examines the inclusion strategies of three Swedish publishers specialized in Italian literature. Following Venuti, the inclusion modalities which are related to the publisher are visible in the selection as well as in the publisher’s epitext and peritext. These three aspects are therefore analysed with regard to peripheralization and centralization.

    Read more about Semi-Peripheral Dynamics
  • Le impronte del traduttore: Un'analisi della traduzione svedese de I Malavoglia di Giovanni Verga

    2017. Cecilia Schwartz. Revue Romane 52 (2), 229-259


    Drawing on Antoine Berman’s theory of translation as a critical act, this article analyzes the Swedish translation of Giovanni Verga's masterpiece I Malavoglia. The actual translation analysis therefore takes as its starting point a pre-analysis that highlights the translator’s individual motives to deviate from the source text. The results show that the Swedish translator has done extensive changes to Verga’s polyphonic novel, giving it a more homogeneous form. Drawing on theoretical ideas on the translator’s unconscious and habitus, the article shows that the translator has downplayed the novel’s expressive and vernacular traits as well as the patriarchal perspectives, emphasizing instead the novel’s religious paths.

    Read more about Le impronte del traduttore
  • From comparative literature to the study of mediators

    2016. Mickaëlle Cedergren, Cecilia Schwartz. Moderna Språk 110, i-x


    Introduction to this special issue of Moderna språk.

    This special issue of Moderna Språk contains articles on Swedish mediators who have introduced, translated and reviewed literary texts from the Romance languages. More specifically, the contributions are the outcome of the symposium ”Litteraturförmedlare i Sverige från 1945 till våra dagar” (’Literary mediators in Sweden from 1945 until today’) which took place at Stockholm University 11–12 June 2015.

    Read more about From comparative literature to the study of mediators
  • Introducing Italy, 1948–1968

    2016. Cecilia Schwartz. Moderna Språk 110, 75-107


    This study examines the impact of two literary mediators – Martha Larsson and Anders Österling – both of whom introduced Italian literature in Sweden during the second half of the 20th century. These mediators are compared to each other with regard to their social background, habitus and position in the literary field, all elements included in their symbolic capital. By mapping out which literary texts and authors they actually introduced in the period 1948–1968, with special attention given to crucial factors such as genre and gender, the results show that their selections had different characters. While Larsson introduced contemporary authors who were highly regarded in Italy at the time, and more closely related to what Bourdieu (1993) described as the autonomous pole, Österling mainly focused on authors closer to the heteronomous pole. Following Broomans’ (2009) six-phase model of cultural transfer, the study analyzes whether their introductions had a direct effect on publication, and what strategies they used in order to introduce new Italian authorships to a Swedish audience. Drawing upon Bourdieu and (1990) and Casanova (2002), it is also argued that both mediators introduced Italian literature in order to gain symbolic capital and strengthen their positions in the Swedish literary field.

    Read more about Introducing Italy, 1948–1968
  • Made in Italy. Il (ri)lancio della letteratura italiana in Svezia negli anni quaranta

    2014. Cecilia Schwartz. Kwartalnik Neofilologiczny LXI (2), 455-470


    Starting out with an overview on the publication of Italian literature in Sweden during the 20th century, this article deals with the process of introducing Italian writers to the Swedish literary system in the 1940’s. For this purpose, the prestigious literary journal “Bonniers litterära magasin” (1932–2004) has been examined and analyzed with a special focus on the presence of Italian literature. The results indicate that Italian literature, though not strongly represented on the Swedish book market as a whole, is the only national literature beside the central and neighbor literatures that is consistently present in “BLM”. The study highlights the impact of the magazine and some of the mediators involved in the process of launching Italian literature, suggesting a model of the introductory phases.

    Read more about Made in Italy. Il (ri)lancio della letteratura italiana in Svezia negli anni quaranta
  • Libri in viaggio

    2013. Laura Di Nicola, Cecilia Schwartz.

    Book (ed)

    Questo volume contiene una ri essione sulla diffusione della letteratura italiana in Svezia; ridiscute i concetti di opera, di autore, di libro, di canone, di classico; interroga il ruolo dei mediatori culturali, il valore delle traduzioni; affronta la questione delle fonti; ricostruisce la bibliogra- a delle traduzioni di opere italiane in Svezia nel Novecento. Un quadro quanto mai ampio dei libri in viaggio fra Italia e Svezia, tracciato attraverso un intreccio di sguardi diversi: storici della letteratura, dell’editoria, editori, svedesi e italiani, confrontano in modo originale, le loro prospettive di analisi del Novecento letterario italiano in Svezia contribuendo a una discussione sui rapporti culturali italo-svedesi.

    Read more about Libri in viaggio

Show all publications by Cecilia Schwartz at Stockholm University