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A Stylistic Analysis of Montale's Version of Sonnet 33. Translation, Petrarchism and Innovation in Modern Italian Poetry

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Steenson A. L., Trissino L.
Book chapter
This essay consists of a stylistic comparison of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 33 (“Full many a glorious morning have I seen”) and Eugenio Montale’s Italian translation, published in 1944. Montale (1896–1981) is considered one of the most important poetic voices in the Italian literature of the Novecento, and his works have been recognized as bringing momentous innovations in modern Italian poetry. The essay presents the salient stylistic features of the Shakespearean original (its metre, syntax and structure), focusing on an in-depth analysis of Montale’s translation, and specifically of its formal features, in order to uncover the formal and poetic strategies employed by the Italian poet in the reception and translation of foreign poetic material. Moreover, the essay reveals the role of foreign Petrarchist poetry in influencing modern Italian literature, through a sort of “return to Petrarchism”, mediated by foreign texts and enacted by Montale in his translations of Shakespearean sonnets. By adapting Shakespeare’s originals for the modern Italian audience, Montale was able to recover many of the stylistic and conceptual features associated with Italian Petrarchism, an adaptation capable of bringing new energies into the landscape of modern Italian literature.
Shakespeare’s Global Sonnets. Translation, Appropriation, Performance
Cham, Palgrave Macmillan
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J. Kingsley-Smith, W.R. Rampone Jr.