A reacción contra o modernismo: a poesía italiana moderna e a súa traducción anglo-americana


  • Lawrence Venuti

Palabras clave:

Laurence Venuti, Modernismo, Poesía italiana, Mandelbaum, Ungaretti


Twentieth-century Italian poetry appeared in English translation relatively late, during the 1950s. This timelag meant that it entered English when British and American literatures were enduring a mid-century reaction against modernism, a return to traditional poetic forms and a renewed interest in a romantic poetics of self-expression.

Allen Mandelbaum's 1958 translation of Giuseppe Ungaretti's poetry shows that this fact of English literary history carried significant consequences, shaping the development of translation strategies, constituting a mode of reception peculiar to the situation of English-language writing, never in complete conformity with Ita- lian styles and traditions. Mandelbaum's translation in fact appealed to different readerships, Italian as well as English, and these readerships were not entirely commensurable in their comprehension and evaluation of his work. Attention to the English "remainder" in his translation, textual effects that signify only in the history of English, indicates that Mandelbaum not only positioned Ungaretti in English poetic traditions, but affiliated him with dominant trends in contemporary poetry translation. Mandelbaum's translation makes clear that a translation can communicate to its reader the understanding of the foreign text that foreign readers have —but only through the release of a domestic remainder that includes an inscription of the foreign context in which the text first emerged. The English translator of modern Italian poetry can set as his or her goal a translation that reconstructs and restages the Italian cultural impact of that poetry —but only in terms of British and American poetic styles and movement.


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