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Larsson, Remade: A Computational Perspective on the Millennium Trilogy in English

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 April 2024

Abstract

Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy is part of a global hypercanon of popular fiction and thus a major commercial enterprise. In the translation of these works, the author and translator are joined by a host of shadowy figures—the source language publisher, scouts, literary agents, target language publishers, editors, and proofreaders—who transform the texts for a particular readership. This essay connects the market-oriented metamorphosis of paratext with substantial alterations to literary content itself. It is based on a computational study of the novels in Swedish and English that singled out major alterations to paragraph meaning and length across the three novels. The study showed that about 6.3% of the paragraphs have been cut or shortened by at least 30%. These extensive changes reveal a process of creative remaking, in which published works become raw content to be reshaped by commercial expectations and the demands of high production speed.

Type
Essay
Copyright
Copyright © 2024 The Author(s). Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Modern Language Association of America

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