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Essay writing, lyric diction and poetic translation in the work of Franco Fortini

Passannanti, Erminia; (2003) Essay writing, lyric diction and poetic translation in the work of Franco Fortini. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Franco Fortini was an outstanding scholar and polemicist who exercised a very significant influence over the post-war generations of Italian writers and intellectuals. Although much has been made of Fortini's sharp analytical ability as a literary critic, political essayist and opinion-maker, he was fully appreciated as a lyric poet in his own country only later in his life. The magnitude of the revival of interest in Italy is demonstrated by the existence of a foundation, the Centro Studi Franco Fortini in Siena, which brings together a rich variety of the author's writings and numerous monographs on his work. However, a preliminary survey of available studies in English showed that, with the sole exception of Thomas E. Peterson's The Ethical Muse of Franco Fortini, little attention had been paid to Fortini's oeuvre in English-speaking countries. The aim of this doctoral thesis is to be the first comprehensive study to explore all three of the principal modes of writing practiced by Fortini - essays, original poetry and translation - treating these individually in following chapters. Because Fortini's political ideology matched theory to creative writing, attention is paid to the links between criticism, poetry and translation both from a theoretical point of view, as genres, and from the particular standpoint of Fortini as an author who exploited this relationship as an hermeneutic and a poetic practice. My investigation into these interrelated languages then continues with an analysis of those intertextual components activated by Fortini's practice of translation, which greatly influenced and stimulated his own poetry. The relationship between poetry and poetic translation is a fundamental aspect of this research. In the first chapter, attention is focussed on a wide selection of critical works by Fortini himself, which range from Verifica dei poteri (1965; 2nd ed. 1974) and Saggi italiani (1974), to Nuovi Saggi Italiani, published in 1987, and the two volumes of political journalistic writings, Disobbedienze (1997), edited by Rossana Rossanda. The second chapter analyses poetry collections including Paesaggio con Serpente (1984) and Composita solvantur (1994) in order to highlight constants that mark Fortini's strength not only as an ethical writer but as a poet. The third chapter displaces the theory of translation from the world of the sign to that of political and aesthetic discourse, and puts the practice of translation at the centre of Fortini's work. In order to prove how translation can resolve the difference, indeed antagonism, between translator and poet, fragments of Fortini's II ladro di ciliegie and Lycidas are analysed and the original texts are compared with the translations. Finally, the intertextual connections between Fortini's translations and his original writings are considered, not only his later poetry but also his criticism. Although permeated by an ethical sense of intellectual responsibility, on a purely artistic level, Fortini's oewvre is also suffused with a progressive attempt at liberating his expressive potential as a poet. In fact, while his concern was to safeguard some of the most acclaimed literary traditions, such as the Cinquecento, the Baroque and the Romantic in their highest forms, he also contributes to their restoration and readaptation in the present, as is evident in his commitment to poetic translation. In the Conclusions, the reconstruction of such a vast scenario, which, hopefully will be clarified in the course of this thesis, emphasizes the remarkable number of foreign poetical and artistic discourses that have penetrated Italian culture through the relentless mediation of Fortini as critic, poet and translator.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Essay writing, lyric diction and poetic translation in the work of Franco Fortini
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10108446
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