SiStan ChapLee

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Enter Clorinda (5)

Lost in translation

In this octave the experimental use of language in Gerusalemme Conquistata is quite obvious. Namely:

* Verbs pass suddenly from past tense to present or vice versa.

* Learned citations are unexpectedly mixed to the descriptions of war actions. Here, "E le chiome dorate a l'aura sparse" quotes the most famous verse of Petrarch: "Eran i capei d'oro a l'aura sparsi," "Her gold hair was loose in the air," with a now classic pun that however doesn't work in Tasso's version. In fact, "a l'aura" (in the air) sounds exactly like "a Laura," and Petrarch's verse becomes: "Laura's gold hair were loose," Laura being the woman he loved, but in this case the woman's name is Clorinda.

( . . .  to be continued . . . )