A Study on the Artemis Fowl Series in the Context of Publishing Success

University essay from Mälardalens högskola/Institutionen för humaniora

Abstract: A close reading of a series of books by Eoin Colfer that enjoyed universal success showed a change in the language between the books especially with respect to minor linguistic features such as choice of location and abstract vs. concrete language. The books are about the boy Artemis Fowl, and were presumably conceived as children’s books. My original thesis was that the writer could not be sure of the success of the first book, but would definitely be aware of a worldwide audience for at least his third book, due to, for example, questions raised by the translators. If the original audience was expected to be Irish, or British, with very much the same cultural background as the author’s, the imagined subsequent audiences would change with success. My hope was to be able to show this by comparing linguistic features. And indeed, even though some changes could be due to coincidence there was a specific pattern evolving in the series, in that the originally Irish cultural background became less exclusive and more universal. The writer also used more details concerning locations, with added words to specify a place. What could thus be expected in the translated versions would be omissions and additions in especially the first book, but less need for that in later books. This, however, could not be proven in the Swedish translations. I thus conclude that the books became easier to follow for a wider, in this case Swedish, audience mostly because of efforts by the author and less because of the translator.

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