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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Beowulf "Conquistato"


An impressive example of the same kind of operation by which Torquato Tasso transformed his long poem Gerusalemme Liberata (first published in 1581) into Gerusalemme Conquistata (1593) is provided by Santiago García & David Rubín's graphic novel Beowulf (2013; 2015 in Italy). In both cases, the "remake" means: more action, more intricacy, more violence, more blood, more fantasy, more science fiction, more psychological darkness, more sexuality -- and homosexuality, at that. Tasso accomplished after a dozen years what here has been accomplished after a dozen centuries :-)

As for the "Spanish Beowulf," the most remarkable novelties concern some Freudian sides of the story, and the appearance of the monsters: Grendel, its/his mother, and the dragon. In fact, all three of them recall -- but originally, powerfully -- the absolute protagonists of contemporary sci-fi aesthetics, i.e. Alien, Predator, Venom. More in depth, they are basically the same creature that gets bigger and bigger, more and more dangerous. Our cheer for arrogant Beowulf is redoubled.

Cherry on top, the Italian translation by Francesca Gnetti is very well made.